Women ‘more likely than men to set a Christmas budget’

Women are more likely than men to have set a budget for Christmas, but they are just as likely as men to bust it, a survey has found.

More than half (57%) of women budget for Christmas, compared with 46% of men, a survey from Hargreaves Lansdown found.

Among those who set a budget for Christmas, 57% of men and 57% of women said they end up busting it and spending more than they had planned.

Men overspend by an average of £177.80 and women by £135.30.

  • Women, £340

  • Men, £278

The research found men are more likely than women to dip into their savings or overdraft to pay for overspending or put it on a credit card or store card.

Women are more likely to cover any overspending with their disposable income than men.

Women are also more likely than men to splash the cash on Christmas presents, spending £340 on average, while men fork out £278 typically, the survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK found.

Meanwhile, men tend to spend more than women on going out to celebrate the festive season, at £66 on average, while women spend £50 typically.

The research also suggests people in Wales spend the most on Christmas presents, at £377 on average, followed by those in Scotland at £351 and gift-givers in the North East of England who spend an average of £345.

People in the East Midlands were found to have the lowest average spend on Christmas gifts, at £264.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There are some interesting differences in spending trends, which could lead to some traditional festive arguments if we’re not careful.”

Here are Ms Coles’s Christmas spending tips:
– Start with a budget. While 57% of people bust the budget, it still means that 43% of people tackle their Christmas spending in a sensible and organised way.
– Give yourself some leeway. Build in a contingency, so that if you spend more than planned on your Christmas celebrations, you do not immediately have a debt issue.
– If you bust the budget, do not get carried away. It is easy to think you have already done the damage so you may as well get a credit card. But the bigger the overspend, the bigger the debt hangover, so even after you have bust the budget, don’t lose your focus on keeping your costs down.
– If you end up overspending, it does not have to cost an arm and a leg. If you plan in advance and have a good enough credit rating, you can get an affordable credit card or one with a 0% interest deal, and use them to spread the cost over a few months at a minimum cost.

And here are the average sums spent on Christmas presents, according to Hargreaves Lansdown:
1. Wales, £377
2. Scotland, £351
3. North East, £345
4. Northern Ireland, £337
5. North West, £328
6. Yorkshire and Humberside, £323
7. West Midlands, £308
8. South East, £307
9. South West, £296
10. East of England, £292
11. London, £275
12. East Midlands, £264