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Tackling your debts

Are you still paying for last Christmas?

Posted 03 November 2014

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<p>While you might now be thinking about how you’ll afford the cost of Christmas this year, some people are still repaying the debts they built up last Christmas.</p>

“Last Christmas I gave you my heart,” sang George Michael in Wham’s popular festive hit Last Christmas. However, the cost of the festive season means that some people give much more than just love.


In fact, the food, presents and travel that many Brits fork out for at this time of year are so expensive that some consumers have to rely on credit so they can afford it all. And some of these people are still paying it back today.

Last Christmas…

… A third of respondents to a recent survey* carried out for us revealed that they borrowed so that they could cover some of the cost. One in 10 of those surveyed are still paying off that debt now … with just a couple of months left to go before Christmas 2014.


This trend was most apparent among the 25 to 34 age group, with nearly one in five respondents this age revealing that they’re still making repayments towards last year’s Christmas debt.


In total, two-fifths of respondents who’re still repaying their festive debts owe more than £500. Even more shockingly, nearly a quarter claim they have more than £1,000 left to pay back.

This Christmas…

…13% of those surveyed said they will need to borrow money to pay for either some or all of the cost of Christmas this year. If this includes anyone who is still paying off debts from last year … or even Christmas 2012 … adding more borrowing on top of this could really stretch the finances.


Christmas is certainly an expensive time of year and this can make it stressful, but relying too much on credit and knowing that you’ll have to pay back all that you spend could heap even more worry on to the event.

Cut the cost

There are ways to keep the cost of Christmas down, if you take the time to prepare. You could buy stamps from your local supermarket each time you do the grocery shop. These can then be used against the cost of a big shop, like the one you do for the festive season.


Putting a little money aside into a high interest, easy access account whenever you can from the beginning of the year could also help take the sting out of the tail of your Christmas bill, as you’ll have cash to put towards it. And you really can give friends and family your heart this Christmas by putting your skills to good use and making them a gift rather than spending money on one. This could include a hamper of baked goods, a jumper you’ve knitted or anything else that showcases your talents while saving you money.


Of course, it might be a little too late to start saving or collect the number of food stamps you need now … but it could be good advice for 2015. And if you’re already struggling with festive debts, you don’t have to cope with the worry alone. There are expert debt advisors you can turn to for help and support, who can also let you know about the debt solutions that are available … some of which fees are payable for.


*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 24th September and 3rd October 2014.

by Kyri Levendi

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.