Time to face the reality of spending too much over the festive season

Many people will take until the middle of the year to pay for Christmas spending

The festive season is behind us and now back to reality. The reality, in the UK, is that as many as 2.5 million people will not be in a position to pay off their Christmas spending debt before the middle of 2014. Many people are starting off the year with around 3,000 on their credit cards.

As many as 3 in 20 persons are still battling to pay off their debts from Christmas 2012 and one person in 30 cannot imagine that they will ever be able to clear their credit card balance. Research conducted by consumer watchdog ‘Which?’reveals that about 13 million adults could only pay for their festive season spending by borrowing money.

Difficult for most people to pay off credit card debts

Debts accumulated in December will take six months to pay off for as many as 2.5 million people in spite of a slight upturn in the economy. More than half of people who borrowed money over Christmas report that they spent the money on gifts and one quarter of them reported that the credit was used to purchase food.

The upturn in the economy will take time to trickle down to the consumer as wage growth fails to keep up with inflation.

New Year resolutions are probably already made and forgotten at time of writing this article. However, there is no law that says we cannot make February or July resolutions. One resolution that we can all make is to curb crazy Christmas spending in 2015. It is surprising how easy it is (I can report this with confidence as I practiced what I preach this year). Try the following next Christmas:

  • Buy presents throughout the year and pack them away where you are sure to find them. This way you can buy on sales throughout the year
  • Keep the presents small but thoughtful
  • Don’t buy more than one gift for each person
  • Don’t run out the day before Christmas to panic buy because you think your gifts are not fancy enough
  • Don’t wait until a few days before Christmas to decide to do your gift shopping; it is stressful and horribly expensive
  • Remember that Christmas is supposed to be a religious holiday, not an excuse for a spending-spree and a huge party
  • Don’t overbuy food for the holiday period

If you can keep your Christmas spending in check you will be very pleased you controlled yourself as February rolls in and reality sets in. Credit cards won’t be bulging at the seams and you will be sleeping better at night. It really isn’t that difficult.