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Two thirds of Brits struggling to afford Christmas

Two thirds of people will struggle to afford this festive season and a third are expecting to borrow for it, a survey has revealed.

The warning comes from StepChange Debt Charity and a survey conducted on its behalf, which asked 1,533 people about the pressures of spending during the festive season.


The survey discovered that 31 percent of Brits will borrow to pay for Christmas and its costs, and on average those who use credit to pay for the festive period will take seven and a half months to pay it back. This means their payments won’t be settled until late summer 2020.


The main costs of Christmas come from presents and food, according to the survey. Over half of Brits who borrow this season will be doing so to buy gifts, while nearly a third will accrue debt in order to buy food throughout the period.


Parents with dependent children who are not living at home are most likely to expect to use credit over Christmas, with 51 percent expecting to borrow. In contrast, parents of adult children who are not living at home are the least likely to expect to borrow.


A quarter of Brits are intending to use a “buy now, pay later” scheme. This rises to a third among 16-34 year olds, which is a demographic more likely to have an insecure or irregular income. This puts them at a greater risk of accruing problem debt.


In order to afford Christmas, 34 percent of those surveyed said that they will have to cut back their spending. This includes cut back on takeaways, nights out, and 16 percent said that they will have to cut back on household food shopping in order to make ends meet during the festive season.


Richard Lane, director of external affairs at StepChange Debt Charity advised that “it’s worth pausing for a moment to think about whether your friends and family would want you to suffer financially as a result of your generosity”.

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