Survey: Men have Christmas under control, women likely to blow the budget

Last minute ‘top-up’ gifts are an expensive shopping habit for women at Christmas, with almost half going over their budget to add that little extra to their friends’ and family’s present pile, according to new data from NS&I.

Only around two fifths of men spend more than intended and most finish their shopping well before Christmas.

But many women can’t resist the temptation of buying ‘top-up’ gifts for loved ones, in addition to those they have already bought months in advance.

One third of women will be splashing out on extra presents in the run up to Christmas, compared to a quarter of men.

Women in their thirties and forties are particularly likely to exhibit this behaviour, with almost half unable to resist these last minute stocking fillers and tree presents for family and loved ones.

Almost two fifths of women believe that Christmas presents are so important that price is not a priority, and many are becoming tempted to spend more than they planned to.

NS&I’s findings show that total spending for women is, on average, about £50 higher than men. However they are also the worst sufferers of New Year financial blues with two fifths of women admitting to feelings of frustration, guilt or stress at spending more than they can afford to at Christmas.

Men take a much more regimented approach to buying Christmas gifts, and only around two fifths go over their set budget.

Contrary to the popular stereotype of men dashing out to buy last minute presents, they are more likely to have finished their shopping well before Christmas and within budget.

Over a fifth of men buy all their presents months in advance and within budget, compared to just 14 of women.

This difference is even more pronounced with young men (16-24 years old), almost a quarter of whom buy all their presents in advance in contrast to just over one in ten ( women of that age.

John Prout of NS&I Savings said: “Everyone loves to please their nearest and dearest and it can be tempting to splash out on extra treats and gifts to do so, particularly in the final few days before Christmas.

“However, our research shows that few people look at the value of gifts they are given. The last thing anyone wants during this season of goodwill is to have financial worries at the back of their mind, so we’re encouraging people to stick to an affordable budget, enjoy the festivities with people they are close to, and concentrate on what really matters at this time of the year.”

NS&I’s research shows that almost a fifth (17 per cent) of men don’t mind what presents they receive, so long as they receive something, a feeling shared by a much smaller percentage of women (eight per cent).

In addition, men place more value on the act of gift-giving, rather than worrying about the quality of the gift itself, with nearly a fifth (19 per cent) saying that buying presents is a gesture that doesn’t need much thought, compared to only a tenth (10 per cent) of women. Interestingly, very few people actually care about the price tag on presents, with almost two thirds of Britons (61 per cent) simply saying it’s the thought that counts.