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Christmas is coming, but 10 per cent are still paying for last year

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As the more organised among us turn their attention to this year's Christmas list, new research from the Debt Advisory Centre has found that one in 10 adults are still paying back the debt they built up from last year's festivities.

A third (34 per cent ) of those surveyed revealed they borrowed on loans, credit cards or from other sources to cover some or all of the cost of Christmas last year. The younger generation are particularly hard-hit: The number of 25 to 34-year-olds still paying back credit from last year’s festive season was double the survey average. One in five (19 per cent) respondents in this age group revealed they are still repaying money they borrowed for Christmas 2013. 

They were also the most likely to have borrowed overall, with more than half (55 per cent) having done so. This compares to just 23 per cent of over 55-year-olds. 

The number of people who borrowed to cover the cost of Christmas 2013 was higher than the number of people who did so the previous year. Only 18 per cent  of respondents had turned to credit to help with the cost of the 2012 festive season.

Of those who are still repaying their 2013 Christmas debt now, just over one in 10 (11 per cent ) said they had less than £100 still to pay. However, two-fifths (40 per cent) of respondents have more than £500 left to repay, and nearly a quarter (22 per cent) have £1,000 or more still to repay.

One in eight (13 per cent) of those surveyed revealed that they expect to need to borrow to pay for some or all of their Christmas 2014 spending. Only half (52 per cent) of respondents said they would be able to manage all of the costs of the season from their earnings.

Ian Williams, spokesman for DAC, says: “Christmas can be an expensive time of year what with all the presents, cooking and travel most of us indulge in. For many people the excess quickly becomes excessive spending and they are tempted to turn to credit to cover the cost.

“However, to still be repaying this borrowing nearly a year later is worrying – particularly if people plan to borrow again this Christmas. If you’re already juggling debts built up last year and are planning to borrow again this year – if you can – because your finances are too stretched to cover the expense of the festive period, it might be time to seek professional debt advice.”

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