Almost half of people in Scotland are planning to spend less this Christmas than last year, according to a new poll.
However the research for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) also found that 16% of those questioned are planning to pay for Christmas by taking on debt.
The poll, carried out by YouGov, found that 13% plan to pay for the festive season through credit cards, agreed overdrafts or secured loans, while a further 3% intend to use payday loans, unagreed overdrafts, or buy now, pay later products.
Only 5% of those questioned are planning to spend more this Christmas.
Of those who do plan to spend more, 41% are doing so to make their family feel better after a tough year while 18% are doing it to make themselves feel better.
Just over one in ten 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 overspend 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 overspending 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 overspending at Christmas time.”
The charity is encouraging people to visit its recently launched online Money Map tool at 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 1862 Scottish adults was carried out between October 19 and November 2.
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