Everything is getting more expensive – but Germans are very reluctant to save at Christmas, as a recent survey shows. According to this, almost 29 percent consider it possible that they tap into loans for the holidays – including their overdraft facility.

The Germans will spend around 120 billion euros in November and December. Adjusted for prices, that is four percent less than in 2021. This forecast comes from the German Retail Association (HDE). According to a representative survey by the market research institute Cinvey for the credit comparison portal smava, citizens are reducing their spending to varying degrees. 35.8 percent only want to spend up to 300 euros; in the previous year it was still 32.7 percent in this category. 25.7 percent of those surveyed spend between 300 and 1,000 euros. That is 4.3 percent less than in the previous year (2021: 30.0 percent). In contrast, the proportion of those who do not set a limit at all remains almost unchanged at 9.6 percent (2021: 9.4 percent).

What is striking, however, is that almost 29 percent of those surveyed (28.7 percent) believe it is possible to borrow money for Christmas by overdrafting their current account (overdraft facility), using credit cards or using installment loans and “buy now pay later” set programs.

Credit cards are clearly ahead with a share of 20.4 percent, followed by pay now buy later, installment payments and zero percent financing.

A dangerous trend, because “it is not advisable to finance things that perish quickly, such as gifts,” warns smava. Those who cannot repay their debts in the next month should do without financing altogether. If you need longer and still want to finance the holiday expenses, you should check the financing costs carefully.

Tip: The longer the period required for the repayment, the more consumers should refrain from overdrafts, credit cards, buy now pay later or even installment payments. These variants are often only suitable for short-term bridging financing of a few weeks. “The use of credit cards, “Buy now, pay later” and/or payment pause offers is only suitable for those who have enough money in their account at the time of debit to pay all expenses in full,” says Alexander Artopé, Managing Director the credit comparison portal smava. But sooner or later every bill will be due. “Anyone who does not have enough money in their account then usually slips into the expensive overdraft facility,” warns Artopé.

“At Christmas 2019 and 2020, around five and a half million Germans were in the red. After Christmas 2021 there were even 6.6 million,” recalls the smava managing director. Anyone who is likely to be in the red for several months due to the holiday expenses – and possibly the debiting of insurance premiums in January – is therefore well advised to either spend less from the outset or to use a much cheaper form of financing such as an installment loan.

It is advisable to compare the offers of as many banks as possible on a daily basis, because interest rates can currently fluctuate greatly. Loans with interest rates of around five percent are still possible via loan comparison portals, and significantly lower if the debtor has a very good credit rating. In comparison, banks are now increasingly charging interest of ten percent and more for account overdrafts.

Details on the survey: The data used comes from a survey for which Civey GmbH carried out on behalf of smava GmbH over 2,500 people aged 18 and over in the period from 15.11. surveyed until November 16, 2022. The results are representative of the population in Germany aged 18 and over. Extrapolations were made on the basis of the statistics “Provision of the population” of the Federal Statistical Office as of December 31, 2021. Multiple answers were possible for some of the questions. In these cases, the sum of the individual values ​​is more than 100 percent.