And for Christmas… some good news!


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The Independent Online

You might see it as a once-a-year opportunity to celebrate love and togetherness, or an over-commercialised festival of over-spending - or something in between.

It's a major part of the UK calendar, but different people hold very different views about Christmas. When All About Money set out to do some research*, the company found that attitudes to spending at Christmas time vary every bit as much.

In first place: 21 million full-time budgeters

First, some good news. When people were asked about their attitude to spending over the Christmas period, the most common answer was 'I live within my means at all times'.

A full 43% of respondents gave this reply. Scaled up across the UK's adult population, that equates to around 21 million people. It's a healthy attitude towards money and spending at the best of times - and for families all over the country, today's economic climate means it's more important than ever.

Christmas budgeters

In a similar - but more specific - category, 17% of the interviewees said they save for Christmas throughout the year, making sure they have some extra spending money when the season rolls around. Across the UK, 17% means over 8 million people.

That's quite an encouraging figure, especially when you take a closer look at that mindset. Statistically speaking, someone who saves up specifically for Christmas is probably likely to save up for other things too, whether it's a rainy day or a holiday. And being better prepared for the future means being more likely to enjoy it - and less likely to end up borrowing just to survive it.

Spenders under pressure

There's nothing like societal pressure. Millions who try to limit their costs in the run-up to Christmas are pressured into spending more. The survey found that almost 14% feel obliged to spend at least a minimum on presents, even if it pushes them over budget. 

It's easy to understand: being seen as a miser isn't exactly appealing. But how much of that pressure is actually imaginary? How many people would really insist on an extravagant gift if it meant financial problems for the friend or family member it came from?

…and in last place: the Christmas borrowers

Finally, some more good news. 'I'll borrow what I need to and worry about the consequences afterwards' was the least popular answer, coming from just 3% of respondents (so an estimated 1.5 million people around the UK).

The 'borrow now & worry later' attitude might sound appealing when the festive mood is upon us, but no holiday lasts forever.

When it comes to winning Most Depressing Month of the Year, January already has freezing fog and long nights in its favour. Is there really any need to add a stack of scary-looking bills?

* Research was carried out between 24 and 31 October by Opinion Matters, who interviewed 1,478 UK adults on behalf of All About Money, a financial solutions provider that provides a wide range of financial services, including debt management advice.

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