Revealed: It takes four months for Brits to pay off Christmas debt

  • Debt management company Lowell has conducted research[1] that reveals the spending habits of Brits over the Christmas period
  • On average Brits spend just over £2500 during the festive season; spending 29% more in December than in a typical month[2]
  • Over one in five Brits (22%) are feeling the pressure to overspend this Christmas as they come together again with their loved ones and want to be generous

Christmas is a favourite holiday in the UK, with Brits spending up to a huge £2,500 over the Christmas period[3]. But how much of this is spent due to pressure, and how do we actually pay for our Christmas?

Debt management company Lowell has taken a deep dive into Brit’s average spending at Christmas, looking at the biggest money pressures, and how Brits are funding their festivities this year compared to 2020.

The research revealed that the average Brit gets into £439 of debt at Christmas, and then needs four months to recover.

Brits’ biggest money pressures at Christmas
From stocking fillers to special gifts, over one in five Brits (22%) are feeling the pressure to spend above their means this Christmas. Those who are shopping for the festive season are spending almost £740 more than a usual month. And with December payday arriving early for many, budgeting is made even more important due to the long wait for the January payday.

As well as the pressures to overspend, the research also highlighted that people feel pushed to buy large, expensive items (14%), as well as feeling an expectation to keep up with social media’s up-and-coming trends (10%).

Brits’ biggest money pressures

Brits Money Pressures % of Brits
Buying more than needed/overspending 22%
Pressure to buy large expensive items 14%
Buying more premium brands 13%
Social media pressure to keep up with trends 10%

Over one in six Brits are depending on Credit this Christmas

Christmas can be daunting for many Brits and finding those extra funds won’t always be easy. Following 2020’s lockdown Christmas, Lowell has compared how Brits are funding this upcoming festive season compared to last year.

Although fewer Brits (17% this year compared to 26% in 2020) are relying on credit cards, there is an expected increase in the use of other tools. Partly because savings are less likely to fund less of the purchases. Payment schemes such as ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ have seen an increase of 39% in 2021[4].

Funding Christmas % of Brits 2021 % of Brits 2020
Savings 39% 48%
Disposable income 35% 48%
Credit Cards 17% 26%
Christmas Pre Purchase Schemes (Monthly pay Christmas catalogues) 10% 7%
Loans 6% 5%

This year, it’s expected almost one in 10 Brits (9%) will rely on their overdraft to fund Christmas.

John Pears, UK CEO of Debt Management company Lowell comments:

“At Lowell, we would never want to see any of our customers getting deeper into debt over Christmas pressures. We would encourage consumers to really think carefully before turning to credit or other short-term options that could have an impact on your financial health if not properly managed at a later point.

‘Creating a realistic budget of what you can afford to spend is a great way to prepare financially for the festive period. There are online tools available to help you get started, and using these to plan ahead will help you to avoid accidental overspending.

Always remember too that your loved ones wouldn’t want you to potentially face additional debt or financial hardship to show them how much you love them.

‘It’s also important to know that there are many credible, impartial and trustworthy sources to support anybody struggling financially, and a helpful list is available at our website”

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About Lisa Baker, Editor 2363 Articles
Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.