Half of consumers plan to spend less this Christmas

Almost half of people in Scotland are planning to spend less this Christmas - with only five per cent saying they plan to splash out more than usual, a report has found.

Shopper walks past Ivy in the Square, Edinburgh

However, the research from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) also reveals that 16 per cent of people in Scotland are planning to pay for Christmas by taking on debt in the form of credit cards, agreed overdrafts or secured loans.

The polling, which is being published today ahead of Cyber Monday and the intensive Christmas shopping period, shows that 13 per cent of people are planning to pay for Christmas through credit cards, agreed overdrafts or secured loans, with a further three per cent using payday loans, unagreed overdrafts, or buy now pay later products.

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Only five per cent of those questioned in the CAS poll, carried out by YouGov, said they were planning to spend more this Christmas. Of those who do plan to spend more, 41 per cent are doing so to make their family feel better after a tough year.

Glasgow City Centre shop frontage getting into the festive spirit.

CAS urged people not to rack up un-manageable debt through Christmas spending that will land in the New Year.

The charity is also encouraging people to visit their online Money Map tool at www.moneymap.scot, which was launched last week, which gives them a roundup of options to improve their incomes and cut their living costs.

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CAS Financial Health spokesperson Sarah-Jayne Dunn said: “What this polling shows is that almost half of people in Scotland plan to spend less this year, a sign of the financial impact Covid has had on household budgets across the country. Despite that, a significant amount of people still plan to take on some form of debt to pay for their Christmas and New Year. And our fear is that many others will end up doing so, even if it isn’t their intention now.

“This will be a Christmas like no other, and given the year we’ve had it’s understandable if people feel the need to over-spend to make up for what has been a miserable year for many. But we really want to urge people not to fall into that trap. A new year drowning in debt is just going to make things even worse.”

She added: “It’s really important that people realise that over-spending now could mean setting yourself up for crisis debt in the New Year. And once you are in debt, it can spiral out of control so quickly, making your financial situation even worse and impacting your mental health. Many of the people who come to the Citizens Advice Bureau service with debts tell us the problems all began with over-spending at Christmas time.”

“We want everyone to have a great Christmas, but we also want you to avoid a debt hangover in the New Year. That can be achieved by planning and budgeting properly. Don’t do your shopping at the last minute, and don’t take on any debts unless you’ve really thought through how and when you can re-pay them.”

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