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One in three will go into debt with Christmas spending - survey

The average Irish child will receive €164 worth of presents from their parents, according to the Irish League of Credit Unions.

Image: alliecreative via Flickr

MORE THAN ONE in every three people will go into debt because of their spending this Christmas, according to a new survey.

Figures from the Irish League of Credit Unions show 38 per cent of people will borrow in order to finance food, gifts and other seasonal expenses. Respondents said they would spend an average of €562 on Christmas – though for 18 per cent of people that figure was between €700 and €1,000.

The average spending on ‘Santa’ presents is €164 per child.

For some, it will take four months or longer to recover financially from the cost of Christmas. Almost one in eight said it would take a third of a year or more, with a small number expecting more than seven months of financial difficulty as a consequence of the festive period.

One third of people said it would take them two or three months to regain their financial footing. The biggest outlay for most people is on presents.

There is widespread worry over the cost of Christmas, with 41 per cent of women and 34 per cent of men admitting fears about spending. Some 77 per cent of respondents said they do not feel any better about their financial situation than they did last Christmas.

The Irish League of Credit Unions is urging people not to borrow beyond their means. Its CEO Kieron Brennan said: “We have seen the impact of some of the toughest financial challenges play out in 2011. Worries over how to finance Christmas are not far from people’s minds.”

He urged those in difficulty not to run up debt with moneylenders or on credit cards. “We want people to enjoy Christmas this year,” Brennan said. “What really matters is family and friends, not causing yourself unnecessary stress by getting into financial difficulty.”

The ILCU spending figures are considerably lower than those in a recent Deloitte survey, which suggested that Irish households would spend an average of €943 on Christmas.

Read more: What recession? Irish shoppers will be the highest spenders in Europe this Christmas>

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Michael Freeman

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