Press release

Thrifty Britons cut back this Christmas

Monday 30 November 2009

  • Saga study reveals the cost of Christmas will be 35% less than ten years ago
  • Just 13% intend to dip into savings, compared to 31% in 1999
  • Spending on presents for Grandchildren drops by a fifth

As the second Christmas of the UK’s deepest recession approaches, a study* published today by Saga Platinum credit card reveals how the British public are budgeting for Christmas.

The research, based on figures and data from 1999 and 2009, reveals how today’s consumers are reining in the cost of Christmas, with each adult planning to spend £435 on presents, compared to £516 back in 1999. However, taking inflation into account, the real value of the 1999 amount is equivalent to £666 in 2009** - so a massive 35 per cent drop. The over-50s remain a little more generous reducing their Christmas present spend by just a quarter. Spending on family Christmas presents is set to fall – with children being affected most of all.

Many people responding to the current economic environment are spending only what they can afford. This year half of the population (52 per cent) plan to use their regular income or salary to cover the costs of Christmas, and not dip into their savings or borrow. Ten years ago this prudent approach was taken by just a third.

Significantly fewer people say they will use their savings to pay for Christmas - from 31% in November 1999 to just 13% in November 2009. Clearly people feel the need to keep their savings in these uncertain times.

Those planning to pay for Christmas on credit cards has remained the same at 16 per cent. Over a quarter (28 per cent) will pay back the balance immediately or do so when they next get paid after Christmas.

However the over 50s are wiser when it comes to using credit cards with a third of the 20 per cent that will be using their card to aid with Christmas purchases, intending to clear the balance immediately.

The Saga Platinum credit card offers a great deal for existing customers who borrow on the card, as there is a low rate of interest of just typical 11.9% APR (variable) and, unlike most UK credit cards, re-payments to the card are ordered fairly. This means that after interest and fees, the most expensive debt is cleared first.

Over 50s who take out a Saga Platinum Credit Card will enjoy nine month’s interest free on purchases, covering the cost of Christmas and more.


* BMRB International was commissioned by Saga to conduct face-to-face interviews with 1,014 UK adults between 11th and 17th November 1999. Saga omnibus research commissioned with Opinium Research LLP, surveying 2,008 people in Great Britain between 28th and 31st October 2009. The samples are nationally representative of UK adults by age, gender and social grade.

** According to, the rate of inflation from September 1999 to September 2009 is 28.63%. Therefore, £516 in 2010 = £516 x 1.29 = £665.64

About Saga Platinum Credit Card

· Low standard purchase rate of typical11.9% APR (variable)

· 0% on purchases for the first 9 months***

· 0% on Balance Transfers for the first 9 months*** (a 3% fee applies)

· 0% foreign currency charge on transactions in Visa Europe: 1% elsewhere

· Interest free cash withdrawals – up to 55 days†

*** Introductory Rate is charged for the first nine months on purchases and Balance Transfers from the date the Account is opened. At the end of this period the Introductory Rate reverts to the Standard Interest Rate applicable to the product at the time. A Balance Transfer fee of 3% applies.

†If you use your card to withdraw cash, you will benefit from an interest free period of up to 55 days if the balance is settled in full before the due date. After that, interest will be charged at 23.9% APR from the posting date of the transaction. There is a 2% fee (minimum £2) for each cash advance, whether it is made abroad or in the UK.

+ Payments received will be deducted from the outstanding balance on the account in the following order:

• interest;

• fees from previous statements;

• Cash Advances (including cash from a Cash Machine) from previous statements; and

• purchases from previous statements.

The remainder (if any) will be applied to transactions on the current Statement in the following order:

• fees;

• Cash Advances;

• purchases and Balance Transfers; and,

• any other promotional offers.

Saga Personal Finance Limited is registered in England and Wales (Company No. 3023493) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saga Group Limited. Registered Office: Enbrook Park, Sandgate, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 3SE.

The Saga Platinum credit card is issued by Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. Registered office: Bankcentre, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland. Registered in the Republic of Ireland: Registered No. 24173. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Financial Regulator in the Republic of Ireland.

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.



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