It’s a tough task; attempting to put an average figure on how much we should spend over the Christmas period.
In fact, it’s near enough impossible, as what we can afford depends on our own unique circumstances.
In today’s tough economic climate, it would not be outlandish to think that festive spending may be curbed. But with the ease of online shopping, ‘sales extravaganzas’ including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and expectant family members, if anything, we’re spending more*.
Recent figures show that those over the age of 50 spend a combined £1.4bn in the run up to and over Christmas*2
. This includes gifts, socialisation and food and drink for the big day.
Presents account for a significant chunk of spending, with the research finding that those who are grandparents over 50 have, on average, three grandchildren and spend around £65 on each.
What was once the norm of receiving one present from your own grandparents on Christmas Day has now become gifting at least two, with 40% even planning to give three or more.
The increased spending has also coincided with a change in how the season is being financed. Approximately 50% of over 50s said they now fund their Christmas exploits via credit, and that includes spending time with friends and family as well as the gifts and festive food shop.
But you came here for a guide on how much to spend over Christmas, not figures. And, as already alluded to, it depends.
A recommended rule of thumb*3
is to spend no more than 1% of the household’s income on the festive period.
So, if your household income sits in line with the UK’s average yearly pension, for example, which is £29,952 for a couple*4
, then around £300 should be your festive spending limit.
Of course, individual circumstances vastly differ, but no matter your situation, it’s always important to avoid financial issues for the year ahead by not overspending at Christmas.
Set a budget, and stick to it.