Debt alarm to families as 50pc face festive crisis

Cash: Warning over rogue lenders

Sarah Stack

Christmas shoppers have been warned to avoid rogue moneylenders as it emerged half of all people will get into debt this festive season.

A new survey showed over a quarter of revellers feel Christmas will be less enjoyable this year as financial worries over job losses, pay cuts and increased taxes take their toll.

The Irish League of Credit Unions said its study showed there was a lot of pressure on parents trying to give their families a holiday to remember.

President Mark Bailey advised cash-strapped shoppers to stay clear of moneylenders or credit cards with high interest rates and plan ahead by saving for next year.

"Over Christmas, many of us feel unnecessary financial pressure and there is a temptation to borrow and spend beyond our means, leaving a very bleak outlook for some as they face into the New Year," said Mr Bailey.

"We wanted to let people know that Christmas need not mean unnecessary stress and debt.

"We want to remind consumers to talk to their friends and families and credit union doors remain open to those who need advice about their finances at any time of the year."

More than 1,000 people took part in a survey, conducted by IReach last month, which found half will get into debt this Christmas.

Women and those aged 25-34 are more likely to let financial worries prevent them from enjoying Christmas.

Some 56pc of respondents said they planned to spend more than e500 on Christmas, with almost a third splashing out e750. Most money is spent on presents, followed by food.

While nearly half of all respondents will dip in to savings, 31pc will borrow or use a credit card to cover costs.

While men tend to spend more than women, they were less likely to get into debt because they are managing their finances better.

Elsewhere, six out of 10 believe it will take them up to three months to recover from overspending, but a small number expect they will still be paying off bills in the autumn.