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37% of people have had to dip into their savings in the three months to the end of November 2012 - to the tune of £1,186 on average. That's according to research from Halifax Savings.

The findings indicate that the most common reason was to cover the cost of emergency repairs to a car or home (23%). 18% of people raided their savings pot to help fund the cost of a holiday, while 16% used savings to cover overspending on their current account.

Furthermore, the research suggested that while many more people (75%) had put money into a savings pot, they'd managed to save less than half as much as was being 'raided' - typically just £555.

More than a quarter (27%) of the 2,138 UK adults polled said they don't make any effort to stop themselves from chipping into their savings and 72% haven't set themselves a savings 'buffer' - a point they won't let their savings drop below.

However, there are ways that people try to avoid raiding their savings. 34% of people cut back on their spending to minimise the need to dip into savings and 25% of people have savings accounts separate from their main bank account.

Research recently carried out by thinkmoney* also found some interesting results about attitudes to finances and budgeting in the run-up to Christmas. Worryingly, around 8% of UK adults will spend what they want over the festive season and worry about the financial impact in January.

Additionally, less than 30% say they always budget properly so the cost of Christmas doesn't affect them. The financial pressure at this time of year is also clear: 18% of people surveyed said they get stressed about the impending yuletide costs, while just under 5% said they tend to go into debt after Christmas.

A spokesperson for thinkmoney commented: "With Christmas just around the corner, people across the nation are having to make their money go that extra mile to cover all the associated costs, from gifts and travelling to food & drink. However, there are ways of funding Christmas without facing any unwelcome surprises in January.

"Dipping into any savings you have could help you avoid borrowing any extra cash. Setting yourself a Christmas budget should also help you spend within your means and make sure this Christmas is an affordable one as well as enjoyable."

*Research conducted by Opinion Matters between 24th-31st October 2012. Sample: 1,478 UK adults. Numbers based on a UK 18+ adult population of 49.122m (ONS Census, mid-2010 population estimate).

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