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Britons worrying about money every day as more people put Christmas on credit

  • Nearly 1 in 7 Britons (14%) worry about money every day in run-up to Christmas, and 37% are putting Christmas costs on credit this year

  • National Debtline launches #peaceofmind social media campaign, supported by the UK’s biggest consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com, to encourage people to seek help – watch the video here

Nearly one in seven Britons (14 percent) are worrying about money every day in the run up to Christmas, with 37 percent putting Christmas costs on credit, according to new research from National Debtline, run by charity the Money Advice Trust.

The research, based on a poll of more than 2,000 British adults conducted online by YouGov, finds that more people are experiencing worry, stress and sleepless nights this Christmas than last year, with an increase in the number of people turning to credit for Christmas costs.
 
The findings come as National Debtline launches their #peaceofmind social media campaign, supported by the UK’s biggest consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com to encourage people to seek support online to help ease money worries at this time of year.
 
More worry and more stress

The findings show that more people are experiencing worry, stress and sleepless nights this Christmas than last year.
  • 13 percent say they ‘regularly worry’ about money in the run up to Christmas, up from 10 percent in 2016.  14 percent say they worry about money every day.
  • 3 percent of Britons say they lose sleep in the run up to Christmas because of money worries – up from 2 percent last year.
  • Nearly one in 10 people (9 percent) say that money worries are negatively impacting their enjoyment of Christmas – up from 6 percent last year.
Christmas costs on credit

The findings also show that more households are turning to credit this year to cover the cost of Christmas than last year.
  • Nearly four in 10 Britons (37 percent) are putting Christmas presents on credit.  This is an increase from 33 percent of Britons last year. 
  • Nearly a quarter of British adults (24 percent) are putting Christmas food on credit.  This is an increase from 22 percent of Britons last year.
A mixed picture on money management

The research also paints a mixed picture of approaches to budgeting, with two thirds actively keeping costs down but over half not having saved for Christmas costs.
  • Over half of Britons (55 percent) say they haven’t saved for Christmas this year and fewer than a third (29 percent) have a Christmas budget they are trying to stick to.
  • Nevertheless, 30 percent say they feel ‘well prepared’ for the cost of Christmas this year, and two thirds (66 percent) are actively taking steps to keep costs down.
  • Common approaches to keeping costs low include shopping around for deals (39 percent), buying online (35 percent), setting spending limits on presents (32 percent).  Around one in 10 agree with others to only buy presents for children (9 percent) or not at all (10 percent).
National Debtline say millions could benefit from seeking practical support online at www.nationaldebtline.org.  MoneySavingExpert.com’s debt forums are there to share experiences and see how others are coping with their situation.
 
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said:
           
“Money worries can affect people at any time of the year, but with the pressure to spend even greater at Christmas, this can cause even more stress. The fact that more people are worrying about money and feeling their debts are a heavy burden is a particular concern.
 
“No one has to go through this alone.  We would encourage anyone worried about money at this time of year to seek support online at www.nationaldebtline.org.
 
“Even if you just make a start to deal with the problem, this could make a huge difference in giving you some peace of mind this Christmas.”
 
National Debtline offers free, independent advice online via www.nationaldebtline.org
 
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com said:
 
“Too many people feel pressured into making a lust list of what makes the perfect Christmas. Instead start by working out how much you’ve got to spend and cut your cloth accordingly. If the answer is you have nothing, then go cold turkey! Have fun, see family, watch the telly, but try not to spend money. Christmas is just one day. Far more important is a happy, financially stress-free New Year.
 
“For those who are already in the mire, worried, panicking or even ignoring the problem, the best thing to do is to go and seek out non-profit free debt counseling help from the likes of National Debtline, Citizens Advice, StepChange or Christians Against Poverty. They’re there to help, not judge. The most common feedback I get from people who’ve done that is ‘I finally slept last night.’”
 
MoneySavingExpert.com’s debt forums are there to share experiences and see how others are helping their situation via http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=76.
 
Christmas money tips from National Debtline
 
1. Set your festive budget
Setting a festive budget is probably the single most useful step you can take – but fewer than one in three of us do this. Make a list of the people you want to buy presents for, set a budget for each and stick to it. Plan ahead when it comes to your other shopping too; for example, on food, decorations and visiting family and friends.
 
2. Keep paying bills
Don’t forget: in December you still need to pay your normal household bills, such as your mortgage or rent and your utilities. If you get paid earlier than usual, consider paying these bills straight away, so you know that what you have left is what you can spend on Christmas.
 
3. Spread the cost
There are lots of good deals around at Christmas, so make sure you shop around to get the best price. You could leave buying your presents until later in the month as sales often start early. You could also spread the cost of Christmas over the whole of December by buying non-perishable food items earlier in the month.
 
4. Resist borrowing more
It can be very tempting to borrow money to pay for the cost of Christmas. Think about whether you can afford to pay it back. If you do decide to take out credit, check the terms and conditions and create a personal budget to make sure you can afford the repayments.
 
5. Just buy for kids
You could agree with your family just to buy for the children. If you still want to buy for adults, you could consider doing a ‘Secret Santa’ so that each adult only buys one gift. Handmade presents are often cheaper and have that personal touch.
 
6. Look out for free activities
With the kids off school there is always pressure to keep them entertained. If you’re not careful, the cost of keeping them busy will soon mount up! Find out if there are free activities in your area over the holiday period. They may be advertised in the local newspaper and community centres.
 
7. Get advice now
If you are worried about your debt, get free debt advice now. Don’t wait until the New Year. The earlier you seek free debt advice, the sooner you can deal with your debt and ease your worries.
 
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