How long does it take your current account to recover from the excesses of Christmas? A month? Two months? Longer?
According to data released today, March is the month when most of us manage to get our finances in order.
This month’s payday is apparently the moment we are most likely to pay off those Christmas credit card bills and get out of that overdraft.
According to data from TSB, how long it takes for your current account to return to pre-Christmas levels depends on where in the country you live.
Shoppers in Birmingham, Liverpool, Staffordshire and North Wales pay off their debts in January, while those in Essex and the Thames Valley don’t get out of the red until May.
TSB also found that the average Brit increased their credit card balance by 2.7% between October and December last year – up from 2.1% for the same period in 2014.
Craig Bundell, head of credit cards at TSB, said: “Getting back in the black after Christmas can be difficult, particularly with temptation to spend in the January sales and the long weeks between December and January paydays, but it’s good to see many borrowers able to stay on top of their debts, even paying them off early.
“For those who are struggling to pay off any excess spending, it’s useful to make a monthly budget, keep a track of your daily spending and stick to a realistic plan to pay off the debt as soon as possible, making additional payments where possible.
“If people have high interest rates on their credit cards or overdrafts, it might be useful to shop around to see if it’s worth switching their debt to a lower rate.”
According to the British Retail Consortium, almost one pound in every five was spent online in December, with sales up 19.7%.
High streets were hit by a combination of online sales growth and the wet weather, with footfall down 4%.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, said: “This was very much an online Christmas with this channel playing a vital role in driving retail sales in December.
“The proportion of online spend was up across all categories we measure with household appliances, footwear and furniture leading the way.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountancy firm KPMG, said: “With 190% of average rainfall in December, many consumers chose to log in rather than walk in over the festive period.
“Whilst the weather was one reason for this, another is a significant shift in consumer behaviours with online channels more convenient and logistics and fulfilment networks becoming increasingly slick.
“The online phenomenon is clearly here to stay and will continue to challenge the role of the store. 2016 will no doubt bring further innovation in this arena as retailers strive to deliver a seamless omni-channel experience.”