One in four Scots feel pressure at Christmas to overspend

Black Friday and store offers were cited as pressures making people feel they had to spend more. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Black Friday and store offers were cited as pressures making people feel they had to spend more. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

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More people are borrowing to pay for festive food and gifts than last year.

Nearly one in four Scots feels under pressure to overspend this Christmas, with shopping bonanzas such as Black Friday and children’s wishes being among the main causes, a charity has found.

With underlying borrowing having risen sharply over the last year, we are concerned that this extra Christmas spending will be the last straw for many.

Joanna Elson, Chief Executive, Money Advice Trust

Research for the Money Advice Trust’s National Debtline found that 23 per cent of adults feel under pressure to spend more than they had planned this festive season.

Across the survey of more than 2,000 people, 7 per cent of people said their children are a source of pressure to spend more than they had intended.

Black Friday and similarly hyped shopping days were cited as a source of strain by 6 per cent of people, with the same proportion also saying that stores’ “special offers” make them feel under pressure to spend more.

Some 4 per cent of people said that other relatives make them feel under pressure to blow their budget and the same proportion also blamed their spouse, or depictions of Christmas on television shows and in films, for putting them under pressure to part with more of their cash.

The survey also suggested that people may be borrowing more this year than in 2014 to get through Christmas.

In this year’s survey, 35 per cent of people had already borrowed money or planned to borrow it to pay for Christmas gifts.

Meanwhile, 23 per cent of people plan to borrow money to pay for Christmas food, compared with 21 per cent last year.

A recent Bank of England ­money and credit report showed that consumer credit has been growing at its strongest levels since 2006, prompting ­concerns about people’s reliance on ­personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, which provides free, independent debt advice, said: “The number of us putting Christmas on credit is rising, and while most households will be able to pay this extra borrowing off, many are at risk of falling into difficulty in the New Year.

“The fact that so many people are feeling under pressure to spend more than they originally planned shows what a difficult time of year this can be. With underlying borrowing having risen sharply over the last year, we are concerned that this extra Christmas spending will be the last straw for many.”

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