Women blow budget on 'top-up' giftsMillions overspend on last minute presents

03 December 2011

Christmas presents

Women blow the Christmas budget on last minute gifts

Last-minute 'top up' gift-buying pushes millions of women over budget each Christmas, according to new research by National Savings & Investments (NS&I).

The study shows that almost half (46%) of women go over their budgets to add that little extra to their friends' and family's present pile. 

On the other hand, only 37% of men spend more than intended - and most finish their shopping well before Christmas.

Last-minute stocking fillers

Many female shoppers seem unable to resist top-up temptation, buying gifts in addition to those they have already bought months in advance. 

Women in their thirties and forties are particularly likely to exhibit this behaviour, with 49% admitting to pouncing on last-minute stocking fillers and presents for family and loved ones.

Price is no object

Sensible budgeting seems to be overridden by other priorities during the festive season: Some 37% of women believe that Christmas presents are so important that price is not a priority.

NS&I's findings show that total spending for women is, on average, about £50 higher than for men. 

However - they are also the worst sufferers of New Year financial blues, with 40% of women saying they felt frustrated, guilty, or stressed after spending more than they could afford at Christmas.

Well-prepared men

The research also revealed some surprising Christmas shopping facts about men. Contrary to the popular stereotype of men dashing out to buy last minute presents, they are actually more likely to have finished their shopping well before Christmas and within budget.

Only two-fifths go over their set budgets, and 22% of men buy all their presents months in advance and within budget. That's compared to just 14% of women.

It's the thought that counts

According to the research very few people actually care about the price tag on presents, with 61% of Britons simply saying it's the thought that counts.

However, 41% of the population are risking financial worry by spending more than they planned to at Christmas.

These two facts taken together show just how important it is to keep your festive budget under control, and try to build a Christmas savings pot well in advance.

More on this...

  • Christmas shopping rights - we show you what you're entitled to.
  • Planning your budget - how to build a budget you can stick to.
  • Five ways to save for Christmas 2012 - we show you how to save for next year.