New survey results from PayPlan, have found that during a year where two-thirds of us saw our income drop due to Covid-19, 66% of us now feel under pressure to spend on friends and family at Christmas.

The closure of high street stores during the second lockdown has limited our shopping choices and has driven retailers to push online ‘limited time’ Black Friday promotions. A staggering 79% of people surveyed worry about how they will afford Christmas this year and the pressures of online-only deals means that shoppers have to either jump on an offer or risk missing out altogether, particularly if we don’t see a reopening of retailers in towns and cities.

Looking past Christmas, the overall outlook isn’t one of optimism. 82% feel financially insecure going into 2021 and this is before Christmas spending has concluded. Two-thirds have borrowed to pay for Christmas (mostly on credit cards), so financial situations could worsen in the coming weeks as panic buying sets in.

A reduction in income was the biggest cause of financial difficulties in 2020 and if this doesn’t return to normal or at least increase, a Christmas spending hangover could leave people in dire financial situations for the year ahead.

PayPlan’s expert debt adviser, Jane Clack, has these tips if you’re struggling with your finances in the lead up to Christmas “My advice right now is to work out a budget and stick to it. Once you know what you have coming in and going out in an average month, you will know what is available to spend at Christmas.”

“This isn’t the year to be going overboard on Christmas spending. Yes, it may be tempting to splash out after such a rotten year, but 2021 will be worse if you are left with a pile of debt. If you are shopping, make sure you compare prices first and don’t panic buy. Stay safe and we’ll all get through this.”