One in six Scots are planning to pay for Christmas by taking on debt this year, a new poll has found.
Some 16 per cent of those surveyed have said they will use services such as payday loans, overdrafts or credit cards to cover costs of the holiday.
The poll, carried out by YouGov, found that 13 per cent plan to pay for the festive season through credit cards, agreed overdrafts or secured loans, while a further 3 per cent intend to use payday loans, unagreed overdrafts, or buy now, pay later products.
However, almost half of people in Scotland are planning to spend less this Christmas than last year, according to the the research for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).
Only 5 per cent of those questioned are planning to spend more this Christmas.
A tough year
Of those who do plan to spend more, 41 per cent are doing so to make their family feel better after a tough year while 18 per cent are doing it to make themselves feel better.
Just over one in 10 (13 per cent) are doing so to compensate for not having a holiday this year.
CAS urged people not to spend more than they can afford to avoid a New Year “drowning in debt”.
CAS financial health spokeswoman 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 CAB service with debts tell us the problems all began with over-spending at Christmas time.”
The charity is encouraging people to visit its recently launched online Money Map tool at http://www.moneymap.scot which gives a round-up of options to improve their incomes and cut their living costs, and includes advice on budgeting.
The poll of 1,862 Scottish adults was carried out between October 19 and November 2.
Additional reporting from Press Association
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