Christmas debt accrued by 3.25 million families in Britain shows that the amount we overspent by comes to a staggering £463 million.
The debt, paid for on credit cards, comes from buying presents for our loved ones and will take the average family 45 days to pay back.
The survey, which was carried out by Netmums for O2, also showed that 7 per cent of families will take over 12 months to pay for Money spent during Christmas 2011, meaning that nearly 228,000 families will still be paying for Christmas 2011 when they start spending again for 2012’s festive season.
The survey also revealed that UK consumers weren’t frugal for Christmas 2011, with over half of those surveyed stating that they spent up to £250 more on Christmas presents in 2011 than they had budgeted.
Jasmine Birtles, broadcaster, Money expert and founder of Moneymagpie.com said: “As we enter a new year, it’s a great time for people to get their finances in order and try to remove the stress of bills each month.”
Jasmine’s tips to help families save money in 2012 include:
1. As nearly half of families will have to cut back on food shopping to cope with the impact of Christmas, don’t forget simple ways to reduce your spending. Why not use street markets rather than supermarkets. They tend to be 30 per cent cheaper
2. Cut your utility costs by switching gas and electricity. Try Energyhelpline.co.uk for the cheapest deal.
3. There are so many ways to make extra cash on the side to help pay off debts. Get at least one extra money-earner to help cope with price rises. Think about what your skills, time and assets are and make money from them.
4. Make the most of discount vouchers and offers when going out with your family and friends. There are lots of different offers and deals out there, for example O2 Priority Moments, which is a free application to download for O2 customers that have a smartphone or internet-enabled phone.
5. Get into house-swapping (I do!). Try Lovehomeswap.com. Put your details on and swap with families around the world or elsewhere in the UK.
Use green gadgets such as the marvellous Tower Dryer from Lakeland.co.uk which costs just 5p an hour to dry your clothes. Nigelsecostore.co.uk has several handy eco gadgets such as electric sockets that switch off overnight.
6. Create your own insulation by making thermal curtains by sewing a shower curtain into the lining and putting tin foil behind your radiators to help them convect more heat into the room
7. 11.7 per cent of UK families surveyed think that it will be difficult to pay for everything they need to in January. If the situation is so bad you’re considering taking out a payday loan to help pay for day-to-day bills then this is a warning sign that you need help. Face your debt situation. If it’s too much to bear, go to a debt-busting charity like the CCCS, CAB or National Debtline to get help and advice. Don’t suffer in silence and certainly don’t ignore it. If you don’t deal with it immediately it will get worse very quickly.