Third of people who run up Christmas debt ‘take up to seven months to clear it’

personal debt

Nearly a third of people who took out debt to pay for last Christmas took up to seven months to clear what they owed, a survey has found.

More than a third (36%) of people said the festive season last year left them in the red – leaving them with £426 of debt on average, according to Nationwide Building Society.

On average, people said it took two and a half months to clear the debt, although for nearly a third (32%) it took up to July – seven months.

More than half (56%) of those who racked up debt last year plan to cut back this year as a result, although a quarter (26%) said it would not impact on their Christmas spending.

While 85% of people say they set a budget for Christmas, seven in 10 (71%) admit to ignoring it, the survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK found.

Guy Simmonds, Nationwide’s head of customer management, current accounts, said: “To help avoid overspending, we recommend making a festive budget and sticking to it as much as possible.

“It’s always worth saving as much as possible ahead to lessen the impact, as well as making the most of deals, vouchers and discounts.”