8 in 10 millennials feel pressure to overspend at Christmas 

8 in 10 millennials feel pressure to overspend at Christmas, Consumer Borrowing Index reveals  

Of the millennials (classified as those in the 25-40 age bracket) surveyed:

  • 35% felt pressure to spend money at Christmas to make their families happy
  • 48% thought it was acceptable to use credit for toy purchases
  • 63% were willing to put their Christmas spending on credit and overspend
  • 55% anticipated using credit or loans to make it through January
  • 73% had already used credit for a retail purchase this year

Millennials are the age group most susceptible to overspend at Christmas, reveals NerdWallet’s Consumer Borrowing Index, a nationally representative survey of 5000 UK adults.

The survey uncovered significant millennial stress during the festive period: 84% of people between the ages of 25 and 40 felt a pressure to spend beyond their means in the run-up to Christmas. This considerably outstrips the national average of 62%.

Over a third (35%) of those in the 25-40 age bracket said that the biggest reason for spending money this time of year is to make their families happy.

Furthermore, the data suggests that millennials could be the generation most likely to borrow money or use credit to buy toys for their children, with almost half (49%) believing this to be acceptable compared to GenX and Gen Z for whom 39% think it is acceptable for each.

Looking more broadly, almost two-thirds (63%) of millennials said they were willing to put their Christmas spending on credit, above the national average of 47%. Additionally, 55% of millennials actually anticipate using credit or loans to make it through January compared to 50% for Gen Z and 37% for Gen X

In contrast, other generations seem to borrow more cautiously. Just 47% of Gen Z, 49% of Gen X, and 31% of Baby Boomers say they would be likely to turn to credit to help fund their festive activities.

However, the true cost of Christmas can leave many people in the red and feeling the January blues.

“Christmas and New Year can be a time of high financial stress. Not only has our survey revealed that those in the 25-40 age bracket seem to feel this more acutely than other generations, we also found that they are more likely to take out loans or use credit, which can present further risk,” said Denise Ko Genovese, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

“As much as we’re all keen to please those closest to us, it’s important to recognise our personal limits and understand the potential dangers of borrowing money beyond what we can afford. There’s an abundance of financial tips and guidance available online, including from our NerdWallet website, which can help people to more effectively manage their festive and year-round spending.”

Taking a broader view, millennial borrowing at Christmas seems to be part of a wider trend: almost three quarters (74%) of those surveyed in the 25-40 age bracket had used credit for a retail purchase this year, much higher than Gen Z at 64% and Gen X at 59%. What’s more, 43% said they were comfortable using store credit and 50% comfortable using Buy Now Pay Later schemes such as Klarna, while under 2 in 10 (15%) of Baby Boomers felt comfortable with them.

For hints and tips on how to manage your money, visit NerdWallet’s Personal Finance Hub: