ADVERTORIAL: How much will you spend this Christmas? We've crunched the festive figures and think we know...
Christmas isn't just about spending time with the family - it's about spending money on them too. And on yourself.
As a nation, we love Christmas and blow more dosh enjoying it than any other country in Europe, only beaten by the Americans for the global crown.
It's easy to get carried away with the cash at this time of year and trying to estimate how much you'll need to budget to cover the celebrations is almost impossible.
But as an early gift to you this year, we've unearthed just where our pennies and pounds end up at Christmas. Our crack team of estimation experts have crunched the numbers to put a figure on how much the whole thing is going to set you back! Just read on to find out...
So what do we spend all our money on?
Gifts are top of the tree when it comes to gobbling up our Christmas budget, taking up 59.2 per cent of our spending, according to the Centre for Retail Research.
Another study found the average Brit buys 14.8 presents for 8.3 people, with women the bigger gifters snapping up 17.8 compared to the chaps on 11.7.
The research for RadiumOne revealed the most popular gifts people buy are entertainment-related pressies (63%), clothes (57%) and food & drink (47%).
Who are more generous - the young or the old?
The same data showed 98% of consumers over the age of 16 years will give Christmas gifts - with those aged 25-34 the most generous. If you have a relation who lives in London, you#re quids in as that age group in the capital have the highest average spend of £767 on gifts alone.
Residents of Yorkshire and the Humber are the best at keeping a lid on their festive gift buying, dishing out an average of just £378. It goes without saying that income plays a huge part on how free and easy people can with their pressies. Those on 80k plus will spend £1,608 compared to those on less than £20k who will dig deep to find £329.
Food and drink is our second biggest bill
It wouldn't be Christmas without stuffing your face with food and drink and for that reason our fully-loaded, wobbly-wheeled supermarket trolleys take up 27.9 per cent of our festive kitty.
The all-important turkey might be seen as the key food purchase - with 10 million ordered last year. But almost a quarter (24 per cent) of British families WON'T tuck into one on Christmas Day but cook up something else instead, according to British Turkey.
Booze takes up a good deal of our budgets too, with 600 million units of alcohol reportedly consumed in December alone.
All this eating and drinking catches up with us, though. The British Dietetic Association reckon the average Brit will gain up to half a stone over the festive period.
But we could cut back - we're literally throwing money away...
A 2014 study from the Money Advice Service revealed we waste £2.4 billion every Christmas on uneaten, discarded food and unwanted gifts - that's £28 worth of shopping per person going in the bin or down the sink.
We do love to save in the sales
More than one in 10 of us plan to bag a bargain during the period. On Black Friday itself, on November 27th, Brits are expected to spend £1.07 billion. According to Experian-IMRG, that will be a 32 per cent increase on last year and work out at an eye-wateing £12,384 of spending every second! Meanwhile, eBay predicts it will flog 150 items every minute over the 24 horus.
Cyber Monday on November 30th will be almost as busy, with £943 million worth of spending expected - up to 31 per cent on 2014. Manic Monday on December 7th meanwhile, is set to see a further £733 million spent. But there's only one sale UK punters are interested in as our Google Trends chart shows, above, and that's Black Friday.
Christmas Day shopping is almost as popular as Boxing Day these days, with £728 million expected to be blown on the day itself compared to £856 million on December 26th. New Year's Day is the least popular shopping date with sales of £638 million predicted.
And we enjoy a festive flutter
Millions of pounds will be placed on festive wagers as we hope to win big at the bookies. Ladbrokes alone reckon they'll take more than £250,000 on Christmas specials.
The most popular punt is the Christmas No.1 single, followed by 'White Christmas' betting and most-watched TV show on Christmas Day.
A spokesman told us: "The festive flutter is rapidly becoming as much a part of Christmas celebrations as turkey and tinsel. Brits are betting on the top-selling single and prospects of a white Christmas in record numbers, with the interest only looking set to rise."
How do we fund it all?
Almost half (43%) of us have been saving up for the big day, according to a study for Vouchercodes.co.uk.
Another piece of research by Moneysupermarket.co.uk revealed disposable income is the main way we pay for our purchases (37.4%). Almost a quarter (23.8%) use savings to cover the cost, while one in ten stick it all on a credit card.
So according to our calculations, the amount you will spend this Christmas will be...
Why rely on estimates when you can get the facts
We can crunch the numbers all we want, but estimation is no substitute for facts.
Our figure of £796 is the average amount the average British family will spend on Christmas, according to the latest research. But whether it's trying to predict how much you'll blow on the festive season or attempting to calculate an energy bill, if you're relying on an estimate you won't get an accurate result.
With a smart meter you won't have to rely on estimated bills or submit meter readings manually any more.
Every home in Britain will be able to get a smart meter by 2020 at no extra cost. Just contact your energy supplier to find out when you can get yours.
You will be able to see what you're spending in near real time, bringing an end to estimated energy bills.
Smart Energy GB is the national campaign for Britain's smart meter rollout.
Visit smartenergyGB.org to find out more.
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