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Consumers are set to spend an average of £445 each on Christmas this year, with children receiving an average of £132 worth of presents, according to a survey.

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And just under half of parents - 47 per cent - feel pressured to spend more than they can afford, the poll for MoneySupermarket.com found.

Spending will be highest among 35 to 54-year-olds at £491 per person, falling to £423 for those aged 55 and over and £415 for those aged 18 to 34 - with the average of £445 up 1.8 per cent on last year’s figure of £437 per person.

One in five people, 19 per cent, expect Christmas buying to take them further into debt, with 15 per cent expecting their December salary to cover spending.

Of the parents surveyed, 67 per cent were cautious about spending due to the financial climate, while a third - 34 per cent - were prepared to spend “whatever it takes” to give their families a happy Christmas.

MoneySupermarket financial expert Clare Francis said: “Christmas shopping is a significant area of expenditure for parents in particular.

“And with only one pay day left for most people until Christmas, it is important to take steps now to manage your finances in the run up to the big day - and beyond.

“A recent survey of MoneySupermarket visitors found only 37 per cent will fund Christmas using disposable income this year, with an encouraging 34 per cent planning to use their savings.

“Using a credit or store card was the next most popular option for one in 10.

“A credit card offering interest free purchases could be a good option for those looking for flexibility and an efficient way to spread the cost of Christmas.

“However, anyone taking up this option must ensure they are able to pay off the debt into the New Year.”

British Retail Consortium economist Richard Lim said: “Households have been through a challenging year and two-thirds are very cautious about how much they spend due to the current financial climate.

“Consumer confidence remains at historically low levels and people are still worried about the economy, jobs and their personal finances while coping with a sustained period of falling real incomes.

“Despite these ongoing challenges, it’s positive to hear that people are intending to put some of their worries to one side and enjoy the festive season.”

Opinium Research surveyed 2,000 British adults in November.

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