What Did Brits Spend Their Money On Last Christmas?

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Now that it’s November it feels like the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway. Black Friday is just around the corner, decorations are up in towns and cities across the UK, and if you’re anything like me you’re starting to do your Christmas shopping.

So I thought this would be an interesting time to look at some stats for where us Brits spent our hard-earned cash in the lead up to Christmas 2018. Emma – the money management & budget tracking app (affiliate link) – has analysed over £300 million worth of transactions to compile the ultimate Christmas spending report, to find out how UK consumers spent their money last December.

Here’s the results…

🛍️ It’s All About The Shopping Baby 🛍️

An average of £378 per person was spent on shopping last December. Behind housing, this is the second largest category for the month.

It will probably come as no surprise that the front runner was Amazon (by a long stretch). In December alone, 56% of UK spenders made an average of 7 orders on the online retailer’s website. And that doesn’t even include Black Friday!

Also among the top on the list were John Lewis, Next & Argos. Boots had a strong year-end with an impressive 35% of consumers spending there at the year end.

Another interesting stat is that UK spenders withdrew an average of £244 last December. That’s twice as much as any other month in the year!

🦃 Food Glorious Food 🦃

Perhaps it’s the influx of Christmas cooking shows on the TV, or the naturally social nature of the season, but Brits certainly love their home cooking at Christmas time. Last December Emma reports that consumers spent approximately £231 each on groceries with 82% going to top 10 UK retailers

That equates to around 13 transactions per person throughout the month, without even considering eating out!

Talking of eating out, a surprising 42% of spenders went to McDonald’s last December. In fact, they went there an average of 2.8 times in that month - perhaps it’s for a quick lunch in-between long Christmas shopping sprees!

Takeaways got their fair share of the spend too - 30% of Britons ordered an average of £57 worth of takeaways from Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEATS.

💸 Pulling On The Purse Strings 💸

While all this Christmas spending is going on, there’s still the regular bills to pay of course. We spent an average of £551 on recurring bills & subscriptions and £545 on housing.

Transport spending also saw an increase in December, rising to an average of £170 per person, more than any other month of the year!

Who were the winners in the transport stakes? It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Uber were the major benefactors. Indeed, Emma reports that over 25% of consumers used the taxi app to book an average of 5.5 rides last December.

So taking all of this into consideration, it adds up to make December a particularly expensive period, with UK consumers saving less than 2% of their income. One of the tightest months of the year!

🙈 Keeping On Top Of Your Money This Christmas 🙈

Don’t let the extra expense of Christmas send you into a wild panic. Even though Christmas is fast approaching, there are still things you can do to stay in control.

First, start saving now. Spreading the cost of Christmas over as many paydays as you can will help you to avoid a huge expense all in one month.

Take advantage of sales such as Black Friday on November 29th and Cyber Monday on December 2nd to grab some bargains. It’s not just online retailers who get involved with these sales, deals can also be found on the high street.

If money is tight, you can consider setting budgets with your family and friends, so that you limit how much you spend. Or a trend in our family is to just buy for the kids.

Of course you could choose to make a bit of extra money during December to offset your spending. Quick cash can be made using online survey sites, or you could even consider some temporary work. Many councils will be looking for polling clerks to work at polling stations for the general election on December 12th - check out your local council’s website to sign up, you could earn up to £200 for one day’s effort…

You can also use the Emma app (affiliate link) to help you keep a close eye on your expenses. It’s a great way to keep track of your spending.

Emma is a budgeting app that helps you track your money across multiple bank accounts and discover ways that you can save money in the process. You can link current accounts, savings accounts, debts, pensions and investments to get the full picture of your finances. The app also helps you avoid overdrafts by identifying and fishing out wasteful fees and subscriptions.

However you choose to spend your money, I wish you a very happy holiday season!! 🎅🎄🎁

This post is a paid collaboration with the fabulous Emma app


How do you plan for Christmas? Do you set a budget? When do you start saving? Let me know in the comments below…


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