Don’t get into debt this Christmas

Around this time of year the Citizen’s Advice Bureau is usually inundated with leaflets giving ‘top tips’ to help people prevent their festive finances getting out of control.

And while most are useful as a reminder for people not to overspend at this time of year, I often wonder if anyone ever really reads them and how many of us actually do sit down and plan our Christmas expenditure, let alone keep to a budget!

Research undertaken by GfK NOP last year showed that nearly 4million people in the United Kingdom found themselves in debt as a result of festive period overspending

The research also found that both guilt and peer pressure played a key role in people’s decisions to overspend at Christmas time.

One third of the people who responded felt a sense of guilt as they believed they have not succeeded in meeting the expectations of their friends and family over the course of the festive period.

So perhaps it’s up to the rest of us to help out family and friends who might be struggling financially this year and not leave it to them to make the first move. People who buy presents for each other could suggest a limit on the amount to be spent (but keep the amount small.)

Also if it’s likely that the person in the family who usually cooks Christmas dinner for everyone is struggling financially, why not suggest that everyone makes a contribution to the cost or perhaps change the venue this year?

Janis Harding


The CAB provides free money legal and other advice to anyone who contacts us for help.

If you have any queries relating to this article or any other problems you need help with please do not hesitate in contacting us. Please telephone 01280 816707 and select option 1 for the advice line or option 3 to hear our current opening hours, including our Thursday afternoon sessions at the Buckingham bureau and our outreach sessions in Winslow on Wednesdays.

The Buckingham Winslow & District Citizens Advice Bureau is an independent registered charity. Without funding and volunteers we would not be able to provide our service for the residents of north Buckinghamshire.