Millions of people face a financial battle this January as they struggle with money after Christmas.
Charity National Debtline estimates that 7.9 million people will fall behind with their finances as a result of their spending in the last few weeks.
This is 11% higher than a year ago and the charity is now urging people to start planning for Christmas 2018 so financial problems can be avoided in 12 months’ time.
A survey of consumers conducted by YouGov on behalf of the charity found that more than half of people (55%) admitted they did not save anything for Christmas until December, while only 14% said they had put a financial plan in place for Christmas before the summer.
National Debtline says those who are struggling financially should set a budget for 2018, saving a small amount towards the cost of Christmas each month. It adds that many credit unions have dedicated Christmas savings accounts, which can help plan for the festive season.
However, it says anyone with existing debts should try and clear them first before starting to save.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, says: “After the celebrations of the Christmas period, January is a challenging time for many households with the impact of festive spending taking its toll on household budgets.
“With millions expecting to fall behind with their finances in January, we want people to be financially prepared for the year ahead.
“At the start of this New Year, when resolutions are being made, I would encourage everyone to look at their personal finances and make a plan if they can for 2018.”