THREE-quarters of workers will start the new year in debt.
And large numbers of people with jobs say they are worried about the cost of Christmas.
So cash-strapped are working people that large numbers of them are set to ask their employers for a cash advance on their wages, according to a survey commissioned by employment law consultancy Peninsula Ireland.
Further evidence of the shattering of incomes, due to wage cuts and six savage Budgets, comes from the admission by four out of 10 workers that they will not be giving work colleagues a gift, because of the expense involved.
The Dublin-based employment law consultancy group questioned 663 people and found that 75pc of workers will start 2013 in debt due to the expense of Christmas.
People are blowing their budgets on presents, travelling home for Christmas and socialising. Large numbers were spending their Christmas wages and the next month's wage packet to fund the festivities.
Managing director of employment law specialists Peninsula Ireland Alan Price said workers who are at risk of going into debt to fund the mid-winter festivities should budget better.
"Starting the new year in debt is no way to enjoy the holiday season, so stop the spending and plan a sensible Christmas. The answer to your financial difficulties is not asking your employer for a loan on your wages."
On the day of another financially crushing Budget, Mr Price said people needed to start planning for Christmas well in advance.
"Consider looking at what you can sensibly afford. You may need to downsize Christmas presents, but remember it is the thought that counts.
"Inform friends and relatives that you are on a budget this year – to be honest most people will understand your predicament," Mr Price said.
Many people get paid on Christmas Eve and then won't be paid until the end of January, so a December salary has to last.
Mr Price said employees should remember that asking their employer for an advance can place them in a difficult situation, so be prepared in case they refuse, especially as this is not designed to be a long-term solution.