Savings ‘got families through Xmas’

Christmas savings

Did you find yourself dipping into your savings at Christmas so you could afford that new computer game for the kids, the turkey with all the trimmings and not forgetting the all important Christmas tree and decorations?

If you did, you're not alone.

A study has found that more than one in every four British people used their savings to help pay for their festive celebrations in 2011.

In total, 27% of us admitted using some of our savings, while almost 10% had to draw on their nest eggs for the whole cost of last year's Christmas.

Also shown by BM Savings' Saving Britain survey was a continuing trend for financial caution, due to the increasing pressure on household finances and the need to prepare for similarly big outlays at other points later in the year.

Over three months, people saved an average of £920, which was an increase on the previous three months when the same study was conducted. But there was a 14% drop in the amount of saved money people actually used, compared to the previous period which stood at £1,426.

During the past quarter, the most popular reasons for dipping into savings has been to pay for emergency repairs for the home or car, or because of overspending on a current account.

BM Savings' head of products, John Bianco, acknowledged that the festive period was a "testing time" and said the research displays the extent to which families have had to use savings to get them through last Christmas.

"The wider results of the research are encouraging, however, demonstrating that many are actually raiding their savings less, and getting to save that extra bit each month," he said.

Some 2,003 British adults were surveyed in January, and were asked how much they had saved and used during the last three months.

To make sure you are better prepared for next year, set up a year-long Christmas shopping calendar so you get the best high-street bargains. Or if you'd rather leave the shopping for the end of the year, find out how to start a Christmas Savings Account.