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Christmas spending hangover lasts beyond June

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Around a quarter (23%) of those who use credit for Christmas spending take longer than six months to repay it, according to new research by Leeds Building society.

Around one in five (18%) relied on credit to cover the cost of Christmas with the majority of those taking more than a month to repay what they’d spent, though 71% had paid it off within six months.

Plenty of people do plan ahead. Only a quarter of people in the UK who celebrate the festive season (24%) don’t save ahead for it at all. A prudent 15% start saving in January. The majority (39%) put money away from September onwards.

In terms of gifts, 2% start dropping hints as early as January, but most people wait until later in the year, with one in four (25%) starting their present campaigns in November.

This is the same time Christmas shopping peaks. Almost a third (32%) buy their presents in November; while another quarter (24%) wait until December.

Matt Bartle, Leeds Building Society’s director of products said: “It was good to see plenty of people start saving for Christmas in January. Similarly, it was positive that nearly three quarters (74%) of the people surveyed don’t take out credit to pay for Christmas. However, it was worrying that those who do use use credit can take months to pay it off, which will incur fees and could end up costing them a lot more.

“When there’s a big annual expenditure – whether that’s Christmas or a holiday – saving little and often helps to spread the cost to make it more manageable.”

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