Two-fifths (41%) of families say their financial wellbeing is worse than it was during the “pre-pandemic Christmas” of 2019, according to an index.
And nearly a quarter (23%) of households with children living at home expect to spend less this Christmas compared with last year, amid surging bills and the ongoing impact of coronavirus.
The findings were made by comparethemarket.com’s household financial confidence tracker.
They were released as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose from 4.2% in October to 5.1% in November – the highest level in more than a decade and a bigger leap than feared.
Less than a third (31%) of families surveyed said their finances are in better shape than two years ago.
A quarter (25%) of families with children at home said they had found it challenging to pay bills in the past week.
Nearly half of households (47%) with children feel more pessimistic about their finances compared with this time last year – rising to 55% among those with adult children still living at home.
Rising living costs, including surging energy prices, and worries over being able to afford Christmas contributed to households feeling downbeat, the research found.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of families with children living at home were worried about being able to pay their household bills over the next few weeks.
Ursula Gibbs, director at comparethemarket.com, said: “Rising living and energy costs are a worry for many households across the UK right now, especially for those with dependants at home.
“With uncertainty around inflation rising, many are taking a prudent approach by spending less this Christmas. However, what is concerning is how some families may be relying on additional funding to cover the costs.”
More than 2,100 people were surveyed across the UK on December 1 and 2 2021.