According to research from the Money Advice Service, one third (32%) of UK adults will turn to credit cards to pay for this year's festive spend, highlighting the financial pressures that families face as they struggle to make ends meet.
The annual Christmas Spending Survey, based on a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, found that 38% of consumers are worried about how they'll afford Christmas this year with the same amount thinking it'll be more difficult than last year – despite the fact they anticipate to spend less (the average expected spend is £487 compared to £508 in 2012).
Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that almost one in ten (9%) are still paying for Christmas 2012, whilst 34% of UK adults are expecting to start 2014 in debt.
It seems that the majority of people feel pressure to put on a "special" Christmas for their friends and family, and that leads to many stretching themselves financially. In fact, more than a quarter (or 27%) admit to getting carried away at Christmas and end up spending more than they can afford.
In light of their findings, the Money Advice Service is urging consumers to plan ahead and stay in control of money matters to ensure they don't suffer from mounting debt.
Jane Symonds, head of service delivery at the Money Advice Service, commented:
"Christmas is an exciting time to catch up with family and friends but can also be a worry financially, and very stressful if money is tight. Getting to grips with the costs in advance of the big day will help you take control of your spending and alleviate some of the pressure."
If you're feeling the pinch and will need to rely on credit to fund this year's festivities, there are ways you can cut the cost.
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