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Almost half of people plan to spend less this Christmas

Almost half of people in Scotland (45 per cent) are planning to spend less this Christmas than last year, according to new polling for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).

The research by YouGov also reveals that 16 per cent of people in Scotland are planning to pay for Christmas by taking on debt.

The polling, which is being published today (Sunday) ahead of Cyber Monday and the intensive Christmas shopping period, shows that 13 per cent of people are planning to pay for Christmas through credit cards, agreed overdrafts or secured loans, with a further 3 per cent using payday loans, unagreed overdrafts, or buy now pay later products.

Only 5 per cent planning to spend more this Christmas. Of those who do plan to spend more, 41 per cent are doing so to make their family feel better after a tough year.

CAS is urging people not to rack up un-manageable debt through Christmas spending that will land in the New Year.

The charity is also encouraging people to visit their online Money Map tool at www.moneymap.scot, which was launched last week, which gives them a roundup of options to improve their incomes and cut their living costs.

Publishing today’s figures, CAS Financial Health spokesperson 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.

“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. 

“CAS has produced an online Money Map tool, which brings together in one place all the helpful online advice and options that are out there for people who are feeling the squeeze on their finances. The tool includes advice on budgeting, which will help you avoid the nightmare of New Year debt. www.moneymap.scot.

“We’re really pleased that thousands of people have used the Money Map tool already in its first few days. It is for anyone and everyone impacted financially by the virus and it covers a whole range of opportunities to increase your income, cut your costs and get in control of your household finances.

“We want everyone to have a great Christmas, but we also want you to avoid a debt hangover in the New Year. That can be achieved by planning and budgeting properly. Don’t do your shopping at the last minute, and don’t take on any debts unless you’ve really thought through how and when you can re-pay them.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

All figures from YouGov unless otherwise stated. The survey re-contacted participants from a previous sample which was representative of Scottish adults. 3,305 Scottish adults were surveyed in the earlier survey and 1,862 of those took part in this follow-up. Fieldwork for this re-contact survey was undertaken between 19th October and 2nd November 2020. The results have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults.

 

Q6. Compared to your spending last year, how much are you planning to spend on Christmas this year?

 

Unweighted base

1862

Base

1862

I plan to spend much more than last year

1%

 

 

I plan to spend slightly more than last year

4%

 

 

I plan to spend around the same amount as last year

36%

 

 

I plan to spend slightly less than last year

23%

 

 

I plan to spend much less than last year

22%

 

 

Don't know

8%

 

 

Not applicable - I don't celebrate Christmas

3%

 

 

Prefer not to say

2%

 

 

Net: Spend more

5%

 

 

Net: Spend less

45%

 

Q7. What are your reasons for spending more this Christmas?  (Please select all that apply)

 

Unweighted base

87

Base: All who will spend more on Christmas

93

To make me feel better after a tough year

18%

 

 

To make my family feel better after a tough year

41%

 

 

To compensate for not having a holiday this year

13%

 

 

Can afford to spend more

25%

 

 

Managed to save/have more disposable income to allow me to spend more

24%

 

 

More people to buy gifts for

9%

 

 

To help out other family members/friends

14%

 

 

Other

10%

 

 

Don't know

4%

 

 

 

 

Q8. How are you planning on paying for Christmas this year? (Please select all that apply)

 

Unweighted base

1794

Base: All who celebrate Christmas

1799

I have budgeted/saved in advance for it

47%

 

 

Borrowing from family and/or friends

1%

 

 

Use my savings

24%

 

 

Credit card

11%

 

 

Agreed overdraft

3%

 

 

Unagreed overdraft

0%

 

 

Secured loans

0%

 

 

Payday loans

0%

 

 

Buy Now Pay Later products (e.g. Klarna etc.)

2%

 

 

Not paying priority bills (e.g. mortgage, rent, council tax payments, electricity etc.)

1%

 

 

Not paying other bills (e.g. broadband, mobile phone bill, TV services etc.)

1%

 

 

Reducing unessential expenditure/costs (e.g. leisure activities etc.)

13%

 

 

Going without essential items such as food or heating

2%

 

 

Other

6%

 

 

Don't know

11%

 

 

Prefer not to say

3%

 

 

Net: Credit card, agreed overdrafts, secured loans

13%

 

 

Net: Payday loans, unagreed overdrafts, buy now pay later products

3%

 

 

Net: Any

87%

 

 

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