Over a fifth of Irish people (21%) are in debt in January because of overspending at Christmas, according to new research by One4all.
The financial strain of Christmas is even more significant for people with children, with 37% of those with kids between the age of six and twelve reporting that they run into debt in January after borrowing or using credit cards to pay for Christmas.
While Christmas is a time of year associated with presents, socialising and celebrating with friends and family, this often comes at a financial cost.
The research found that the financial pressure of Christmas causes one in three (37%) people in Munster to feel anxious or stressed, with this figure increasing to 44% for those with children under the age of twelve.
One4all commissioned this nationally representative research to gather insights into how Christmas is impacting people financially and if overspending is affecting spending habits in January.
The results have shown that despite Christmas being many people’s favourite time of year, January can be a difficult month financially.
One in three people (36%) claim that January is their least favourite month of the year. This finding is likely to coincide with the fact that people are socialising less following the hectic Christmas period, with over 43% of respondents from Munster claiming to cut back on social spending in January.
WORKERS WOULD BE INTERESTED IN A CHRISTMAS SAVING SCHEME
While just under one in two (46%) people living in Munster said that January is the most difficult month of the year for them financially, it is encouraging to learn that 45% of respondents budget throughout the year to be able to spend more at Christmas time.
The research also found that 44% of Irish workers would be interested in signing up to a Christmas saving scheme if it was offered by their employer.
This figure was even higher among female respondents, with one in two females (51%) saying they would be keen to sign up for a work-based Christmas savings scheme if they had the option.
To help ease the financial pressure of Christmas, One4all offers a free Christmas Club to help people set aside some extra money ahead of the festive period.
To partake in this scheme, employees decide how much they want to put aside each month from their salary (min. €15/month), then fill out an application form and send it to One4all. One4all will then notify the HR and payroll department to start making contributions.
All participants will receive a username and password that allows them to access their account anytime to view their contributions and balance. At the end of the agreed period, each One4all Christmas Club account will unlock, and the owner will be able to redeem the full value of their contributions – with One4all adding an additional contribution of 2% of the total amount saved.
This money can then be redeemed in One4all Gift Cards and spent in over 8,500 stores nationwide, including Argos, Penneys, Boots, TK Maxx, M&S, Littlewoods Ireland and many more.
Michael Dawson, CEO, One4all, said: “At One4all we acknowledge that Christmas can be a difficult time of the year financially with many having to cut back in January as a result of overspending.
When we launched the One4all Christmas Club ten years ago with then Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, we did so to help people budget for Christmas and avoid the financial pressure of the festive season. The Christmas Club enables people to set money aside directly from their payroll without any financial cost to either the employee or their employer.
While it is upsetting to learn that some people are running into debt because of Christmas, we hope this initiative can help ease the pressure for many for Christmas 2019 and beyond.”