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£14billion January debt

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Blinkered Brits will be £13.9 BILLION in debt in January – after pushing the boat out at Christmas, it was revealed yesterday.

A study carried out among 2,000 adults shows six in 10 are determined to defy the economic gloom and spend, spend, spend during the festive period, not worrying about the bill until the New Year.

And the average person believes they will end up spending around £631.18 on presents for their families this year – carrying over £466.38 as debt into 2012.

Across the estimated 30 million credit card holders in the UK this is a staggering £13,991,400,000 of Christmas debt.

But the main motivation for spending more this Christmas than any other is because 2011 has proved to be an incredibly tough year for many.

Tracy Fletcher from Skipton Building Society, which compiled the report, said: “These findings are quite astonishing given the fact that as a nation we are trying to tighten our belts and spend less money.

“What is particularly worrying is that people are choosing to increase their credit card spending to afford the kind of extravagant Christmas they want.

“This kind of debt boasts interest rates of up to 29 per cent, which means Christmas presents are actually costing people even more than the cost listed on the price tag.

“And while dipping into savings might seem like the sensible option, it’s a shame the money can’t be put towards more important and potentially longer lasting living expenses.”

One third of those polled admitted they intend to rack up huge credit cards bills during December, while 34 per cent will dip into existing savings to pay for presents.

The survey shows 51 per cent are prepared to struggle financially in January and February, in order to treat friends and family this month.

But 57 per cent of these people think starting the New Year skint is worth it as long as they enjoyed a lavish Christmas.

Half of those polled say they feel they now deserve a reward, and the 25th of December will be just that.

A third of people reckon Christmas is their favourite day of the year, but the same percentage also claim to be sick and tired of worrying about money all the time.

Another quarter have scrimped and saved all year long, and reckon it is time for a change.

Seven in 10 people have been cutting back on other areas of spending in the lead up to Christmas to make sure they can afford everything they need for their ideal day.

Two thirds of these people have been conducting their weekly food shop on a much tighter budget, while 48 per cent stopped going out on Friday and Saturday nights.

A further four in 10 Brits have been taking packed lunches to work rather than buying something to eat each day, and 35 per cent have used loyalty points to help pay for food and petrol.

Two thirds of savvy folk HAVE been saving towards Christmas, with 18 per cent starting as early as January.

Tracy added: “The research indicates that to a degree, some people have tried to plan and save for Christmas – as much as they can while managing daily financial commitments.

“But while it’s encouraging that some people have made a conscious effort to save and prepare for an expensive month, they are almost falling at the last hurdle by going out of their way to treat the family at Christmas.

“Rather than spending just the money they have saved up, or the disposable income they have at the end of the month, people are going mad spending beyond their means.

“And the chances are people would have a lovely family day regardless of quantity or price of gifts under the tree.”

These findings are quite astonishing given the fact that as a nation we are trying to tighten our belts and spend less money.

Tracy Fletcher from Skipton Building Society

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