Sale-ing through Christmas: the secret to cutting Christmas spending by more than £13,000

27 December 2018
  • Shopping for the following Christmas in the Boxing Day and January sales could save you £13,000 across your lifetime
  • One in three Brits (34%) admit that they have done all their Christmas shopping in the Boxing Day and January sales
  •  16-24-year olds are the canniest shoppers, with 51% completing all their shopping in the sales


Getting a head start by shopping for the following Christmas in the Boxing Day and January sales could slash your Christmas shopping bill by two-fifths according to new research from Barclays.

Whilst the average Brit spends more than £520 on Christmas each year –shrewd shoppers completing preparations during the Boxing Day and January sales spend just £315. That builds up to a saving of more than £13,000 across a lifetime, which is enough to buy you the ultimate Christmas treat, from the holiday of lifetime to a brand new car.

Clare Francis, Savings and Investments Director at Barclays, said, “After the excitement and expense of the build up to Christmas, it’s understandable why lots of people feel like they need a break from festivities. However, getting ahead with your Christmas prep in the Boxing Day and January sales can be well worth it.

“With the average savvy shopper saving more than £13,000 through making the most of the post-Christmas deals, the saving could build up to the ultimate present in the future.”

‘Tis the season to be saving

Although Christmas is the season to spend, saving is the main motivation for shoppers hitting the sales. More than a third (37 per cent) take advantage of the widespread discounts for the sole purpose of saving money on their Christmas spend for the coming year.

Of those who save money by shopping in the sales, 35 per cent put it towards family essentials and 27 per cent put it towards a family holiday.

Others prefer to put the savings they can make in this period towards longer term financial goals, with one in 10 investing the money, or putting the difference towards saving for a house.

For some, finding the best gift is the reason for scouring through the cut price items. A third (34 per cent) of Brits make the most of the chance to find presents for next Christmas that are higher quality, but within their budget in the sales.  

A quarter (28 per cent) of those who get their shopping completed in advance say it relieves the stress of Christmas time. One in five (22 per cent) report a sense of satisfaction knowing they are well-prepared.

A nation of savvy shoppers

The survey revealed that we are a nation keen to make the most of the post-Christmas lull with one in three people (34 per cent) admitting that they have finished all their festive shopping for the following year – including gifts, decorations and even food –  during the sales period at least once. One in five (21%) have done this on more than one occasion.

The most successful sales shoppers are 16-24-year olds, with 51 per cent completing their shopping for next Christmas in these few days of sales at least once.

The top 10 items savvy Christmas shoppers buy are:

  1. Presents
  2. Christmas cards
  3. Wrapping paper
  4. Decorations
  5. Crackers
  6. Christmas jumpers
  7. Alcohol
  8. Party food
  9. Turkey and other festive meats
  10. Christmas pudding

Clare Francis, Savings and Investments Director at Barclays offers her top tips on how to make the most of Christmas sales shopping:

  1. Make a budget:  The post-Christmas sales can be a great way to save money on everything from Christmas cards, to future presents. But, whilst the deals are compelling, they shouldn’t drive you to spend more than you can afford. The first step in sticking to a budget is making one. Work out what you can afford to spend in total, and also set limits on how much you’d be prepared to spend on the things you need in the sale. When you’ve bought everything on your list or hit your limit, whichever comes first, stop spending.
  2. Only buy what you need: In the Christmas sales, temptation is all around and all of a sudden your brain starts telling you that you need things simply on the basis that ‘it’s such a bargain’. But the benefits of bagging a bargain in the sales are soon wiped out if you end up with loads of things you don’t really need and wouldn’t otherwise have bought. Self-discipline is key!
  3. It pays to shop around:  We all love a bargain, but when the sales start make sure you are looking around to ensure you have found the ultimate saving. Many things can be bought online for less than on the high street. Do a search for the items you’re looking to buy to see if there are any good deals, or even consider whether it is worth hunting for a second-hand bargain.
  4. Focus is key: Think of sales shopping like a HIIT workout, short and intense, and best to get it out of the way at the start of your day. Check what time the sales start, go with a clear shopping list and once you’ve got what you intended to buy, go home and put your feet up!  
  5. Buy for the long term: Another way to save on the cost of Christmas is to make sure you can reuse items year after year. Nobody needs new napkins, table cloths or decorations every year. This way, they become a tradition your family look forward to in their own right, and drastically cut the cost of Christmas without anyone noticing the difference.