Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland consumers splash out 67% of pay packet on Christmas

By Claire McNeilly

People in Northern Ireland spend more of their monthly income on Christmas than any other UK region - and they also fork out a fortune on children.

New research shows the average adult will part with £646, snowballing to a staggering £33bn across the UK this year alone, with just one in 50 self-professed Scrooges admitting to spending nothing.

But as you're delving deep into that seemingly neverending moneybox, fast forward your mind four months to March because that's how long it will take you to pay off the festive debt.

New research has found that generous consumers here spend 67% of their pay packet on yuletide and all its trimmings, which is much higher than anywhere else.

However, it also means we're the UK region where most people - around a fifth - put in long hours at the office and do extra shifts at work to cover the cost of the festivities.

Nationwide's Christmas spending report also revealed exactly who splashes out most money on their children, with Northern Ireland parents coming second out of 12 regions.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 adults found that on average £198 was spent per child here, a figure eclipsed only by those in the North East of England, who are willing to splash £9 more cash (at £207 each).

Parents in East Anglia dole out the least amount of money on kids, on average just £115, while mums and dads in the East and West Midlands and South East and West all spend slightly over £120 for each child.

Children living in Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West can expect presents worth over £150 this Christmas, and Scottish parents come in the middle of the table, spending, on average, £149 per youngster.

According to the new data, Northern Ireland can pride itself in being the most generous region of the UK, spending an average of £158 on their partner's present.

Shoppers here are also particularly savvy, with 68% shopping around to find the best deal, and a quarter using loyalty points to pay for presents. Nationwide's head of current accounts Phil Smith cautioned consumers against going beyond their means this Christmas.

"Try to make the most of your festive budget by saving a little towards the extra costs in advance, spreading your purchases throughout the year and making the most of deals, vouchers and loyalty points," he said.

The results of the spending report show that one in three (37%) of us regrets the amount we've spent on Christmas and, for most (45%), it takes a month before we've recovered.

One in three of us relies on charging presents, food, alcohol and other incidentals to our credit cards or overdraft, so it's no surprise that many people suffer financial hangovers for months to come.

Indeed, as many as one in 16 people will spend their whole month's salary on Christmas celebrations, while just over half of people surveyed now buy the majority of their festive gifts online, rather than braving the high street.

Belfast Telegraph


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