More than a tenth of the adult population expects to fall behind on their finances this January, while less than a third have set a personal budget and 'perilously few' have a plan to repay the debts they currently owe, according to new research from National Debtline.
A poll of more than 2,000 British adults conducted online by YouGov found that 11 percent of Britons say they are likely to fall behind in January as a result of Christmas spending, equating to an estimated 5.5 million people.
The charity is expecting its busiest January in years this month, as households recover from Christmas spending.
The findings follow a Christmas period that a third of British adults put on credit, and a period in which household borrowing has increased significantly. In the East Midlands
Only 24% have a budget for their spending that they try to stick to, while only 7% have a plan for how they will repay the money they currently owe
20% say they are likely to start saving earlier for next Christmas than they did for Christmas 2016
Meanwhile in the West Midlands only 40% have a budget for their spending that they try to stick to, while only 10% have a plan for how they will repay the money they currently owe
15% are likely to fall behind on their finances in January as a result of spending over Christmas
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said:
Research suggests for most people, setting a budget for income and expenditure is the single biggest step they can take to regain control of their finances and start to tackle their debts.
National Debtline took an average of 715 calls a day in December, and helped more than 40,000 people online during the month - making this Christmas period the debt advice service's busiest in four years.
National Debtline's top 3 New Year's Resolutions
1) Set a budget for 2017
Setting a budget is the single biggest step you can take to get on top of your finances. Sit down and work out how much money you have coming in every month, and what you need to spend. Don't forget to account for annual expenditure, like car insurance or road tax, by dividing it through by 12.
2) Open all of your statements
It can be extremely tempting to ignore those envelopes that land on the doormat - especially in January - but resist the urge to bury your head in the sand. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, so take a deep breath, open all of your statements and get a handle on how much you owe. Write down a list of all of your debts, together with the outstanding balances and repayment dates for each.
3) Seek free advice early
Remember that you are not alone in this. Free, independent advice is available from charity-run services such as National Debtline - so seek free advice as early as possible, and resist the appeals of commercial debt management companies whose high fees and charges will only add to your debts. The earlier you seek free advice, the quicker and easier your problem will be to solve.
National Debtline offers free, independent and confidential advice 24 hours a day online at www.nationaldebtline.org and on 0808 808 4000, Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm.