With Christmas on the doorstep, many thoughts are on shopping and buying gifts for the festive season – and how to afford it all. From the wrapping paper to the wreath, Britons can struggle to find the cash.
More than a third (34%) of Britons surveyed by National Debtline said they borrowed, or planned to borrow, money to cover the cost of Christmas presents. Of that number 76% used a credit card to pay for them.
One in 20 - around two and a half million people - missed a payment on everyday household bills in order to fund Christmas spending. This includes those falling behind with 'priority debts' including rent, council tax and energy bills.
You can avoid getting into debt by first deciding a budget for Christmas, and then choosing presents according to that budget. If you decide on your presents first, then it can be tempting to starting borrowing to pay for them.
If you save up throughout the year for Christmas, as it can be such a big cost.
But if you do find yourself in debt it's important not to be feel ashamed about it and it happens to many people.
If you can, visit Citizens Advice Bureau as soon as possible, where you can get help on budgeting and to understand what your options are for dealing with debt. They can help you find ways to maximise your income such as shopping around for better deals for utilities.
We also recommend:
* Avoid spending money that you don't have. If you borrow money on credit, you might be paying it back well into next year.
* If you do you want to borrow money, work out the costs over a long period of time and shop around to make sure you're getting the best deals.
* Save with your local credit union, which can offer small loans at much lower interest rates than payday lenders.
Let your local Citizens Advice Bureau know if you have any debt concerns. Budgeting sheets and other useful information is available on our website www.citizensadvice.org.uk