MORE than one in four Irish people are forced to save for the entire year to help fund their Christmas celebrations, new research has found.
The latest KBC Bank Ireland savings barometer showed that 28pc of people across Ireland have been saving all year to fund Christmas expenses.
The research also found that 58pc will use their salary or current account for their Christmas expenses while just 7pc will use a credit card – down from 10pc last year.
A total of 54pc of respondents said they planned to spend the same amount on Christmas as they did last year.
One in five said they would spend a little less, 13pc said they would spent a little more, while 8pc said they would spend a lot less.
The research was conducted with Millward Brown and measured the levels of savings among the Irish public, along with sentiment towards saving.
It also found that 75pc had a savings account and just over half were saving a set amount regularly.
Dara Deering, head of retail banking at KBC, said the research indicated a sensible approach to how consumers finance Christmas spending.
"Interestingly over half of consumers are planning to spend the same amount as last year," she said.
"It's encouraging that three in four people in Ireland have a savings account and that more than half of respondents are saving a fixed sum of money regularly," she added.
Six in ten respondents said they either maintained or increased the amount they saved over the past six months.
Just under half said they plan to increase the amount they save over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, unexpected bills remained the key driver for dipping into savings at 64pc, with summer holidays at 33pc the second most common reason.
Having a financial safety net was the main reason for having a savings account for 28pc of people while 20pc cited uncertainty about the future.
Ms Deering welcomed the news that a significant proportion of savers have maintained or increased their savings over the past six months.
This, she said, was "a testament to the discipline of Irish consumers".