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Christmas on a budget for millions of Brits this winter

New research reveals that almost 4 in 5 (78%) are changing how they shop for Christmas due to the cost of living crisis

Published on 21st December 2022
  • 31% of Brits admit to cutting back on present budgets, with the average amount spent expected to be £326 in total, compared to £375 in previous years. Second-hand and outlet shops proved more popular this year as a result.
  • The amount Brits plan to spend on food has dropped from £213 to £200, on average.
  • Almost 2 in 3 (63%) are skipping Christmas activities to try and save money.
  • Had any high value presents this year? Confused.com’s contents insurance calculator helps you work out if you need to update your policy. This advice comes as nearly 2 in 3 (61%) UK adults admit they never do this after getting Christmas presents.

The Christmas period is an exciting time for those across the UK who celebrate it. But millions of Brits will be celebrating Christmas on a budget this winter due to the rising cost of living.

That's according to new research gathered by Confused.com, who asked 2,000 UK adults about their Christmas shopping habits. And some of the data shows a true reflection of just how the cost of living crisis is affecting Brits this winter. In fact, almost 4 in 5 are doing things differently this Christmas when it comes to buying presents (71%) and food and decorations (78%).

And it seems many are looking for ways to avoid paying full price for items to give as presents to save some money. For instance, almost a quarter (24%) said they’ll try to find presents in discount or outlet shops. This has also increased from last year, with 18% saying they shopped in outlets last year. More than 2 in 5 (41%) will also look for discounted items through shopping online where discount codes can be used. Making these sorts of changes could help millions of Brits to still find the presents they want and need, but at a cheaper price.

But it's not just gifts that can add up our Christmas spending. This year Brits predict to spend £200 on Christmas food, on average. This, however, is still a drop compared to last year, where they spent roughly £213 on food. Almost a third (30%) told Confused.com they’ll be doing their Christmas food shop at a cheaper supermarket this year. And a third (33%) said they won’t be buying as much food for the festive period this year as they normally do.

The same goes for Christmas decorations as Brits look for ways to decorate their homes on a budget. Last year, Brits spent around £135, on average, to make their homes festive. But this year, that figure has dropped to £129, on average. Nearly half (45%) said they’ll reuse Christmas decorations this year rather than buy new ones. And for those who still want some new decorations in their homes, 1 in 10 (10%) said they’ll look for second-hand decorations to buy.

Overall, the data shows that nearly a quarter (23%) of UK adults have cut back on spending this year to try and save money for the Christmas period. And it’s not just purchases like gifts, food and decorations where people are trying to save money. In fact, 63% of UK adults planned to skip some Christmas activities this year to try and save money. Almost a third said they won’t be visiting a Winter Wonderland this year (32%) or going out for a Christmas meal or drinks (31%).

Brits are also conscious of when they start their Christmas shopping. Surprisingly, only 22% have been trying to save money throughout the year ready for Christmas. Meanwhile, over half (52%) of those who typically start in September said it’s to avoid spending a lump sum. And others are even more organised, starting their Christmas shopping during the Boxing Day sales, for the following Christmas! Half (50%) of these people said it’s because prices often shoot up towards the end of the year as we enter the festive season.

But while it can be disheartening to have to do Christmas differently this year to try and save money, Christmas is about much more than the things that cost money. Around 2 in 5 (39%) said that presents aren't the most important part of Christmas. And a quarter (25%) said they don’t see the point in spending lots of money on presents.

But, there are other financial things to consider when it comes to Christmas presents, such as protecting them. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of UK adults said they have contents insurance but never update their policy after getting Christmas presents. When asked why, more than 2 in 5 (41%) said they didn’t think they needed to update their policy with new items. And they thought their policy would cover them for everything. Sometimes this is the case, but Christmas, even if on a budget, can mean that many of us are adding value to the contents of our homes. Confused.com's contents insurance calculator can help you work out how much the items in your home are worth and decide if you need to update your cover.

It’s worrying that 1 in 7 (14%) UK adults admit they don’t have contents insurance at all. The most common reason given for this was because it’s an extra expense they don’t see as a priority compared to other outgoings (39%). It’s clear that thousands of people across the UK are conscious of spending right now due to the cost of living crisis. Many Brits agree that Christmastime is about more than the presents and money spent. But there are ways to cut back and save money where we can.

Confused.com home insurance expert, Jessica Willock, says: "It's no surprise that thousands have cut back on their spending this year to try and save money ahead of the festive season. Christmas can be an expensive period. And now that we’re facing a cost of living crisis, this will only add to the financial burden many of us feel this time of year.

"But even while cutting back, Brits are still looking to spend hundreds of pounds on their loved ones, which means people will still be getting some wonderful gifts. However, it’s important that people are considering the impact of their new items on the overall value of their contents. Not declaring any high-price items or a significant increase in overall contents value could see their policy invalidated.

"For example, items such as jewellery or gadgets will probably need to be added. You may already be covered by your existing contents insurance policy, but it's worth checking just in case. Our contents calculator can help you work out how much cover you actually need for your items.”


Notes to editors

Media information:
Confused.com press office:


For further information:
Confused.com contents calculator

About Confused.com

Launched in 2002, Confused.com was the UK's first digital marketplace for car insurance and is one of the leading brands in the sector, generating over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the years to include home insurance, van insurance, motorcycle insurance, and car finance comparison, as well as a number of tools designed to save consumers money.

Confused.com is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more. Confused.com’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators.

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