Households struggling with debt following Christmas spending need to take control of their finances now.
Nearly one in eight Britons (12%) surveyed by YouGov for National Debtline - the free advice service run by charity the Money Advice Trust - said they were likely to fall behind on their finances in January as a result of Christmas spending, equating to an estimated 5.7 million people.
National Debtline also found that nearly one in four Britons (23%) felt under pressure to overspend in the run-up to Christmas, while more than a third (35%) borrowed to pay for presents and nearly a quarter (23%) to pay for food.
The charity is concerned this spending may result in a “financial hangover” for many.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, says: “Most of us find the New Year a difficult time financially, and we know that this year tens of millions of people are starting 2016 having put Christmas on credit.”
However, she adds that: “The earlier you take action to get back in control of your finances, the quicker you can get on with enjoying 2016 without worrying about them. “
Take control of your finances now
National Debtline has outlined three New Year’s Resolutions to help you get back on track if you’re struggling with your finances:
1. Set a budget for 2016
Sit down and work out how much money you have coming in every month, and what you need to spend. Don’t forget to account for annual expenditure, such as car insurance or road tax.
2. Open all of your statements
Resist the urge to bury your head in the sand as ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Take a deep breath and open all of your statements and get a handle on how much you owe.
Write down a list of all of your debts, together with the outstanding balances and repayment dates for each.
3. Seek free advice early
Free, independent advice is available from charity-run services such as National Debtline at nationaldebtline.org (visit its online service or call 0808 808 4000). The earlier you seek free advice, the quicker and easier your problem will be to solve.
Resist the appeals of commercial debt management companies as their high fees and charges will only add to your debts.
If you do find that you're struggling with your own Christmas hangover, then get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.