• At this time of year many people will be worrying about how they will pay for additional costs associated with Christmas.
  • People may feel pressured to choose between buying food and presents or affording heating and electricity for example.
  • Rising Cost of Living – The cost of groceries and energy have increased sharply over the year as well as other essential expenditure so any additional financial pressures might mean people consider unaffordable borrowing and risk getting into debt.

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)

New research by Citizens Advice finds more than one in four UK adults say they’re likely to use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) to help with festive spending.  Those unable to cover the costs of their essentials – like groceries and bills are more likely to have been a regular user of BNPL in the last 12 months.

Pressure to borrow from friends and family

If a colleague or friend offers to lend you money, it might seem like an ideal way to get hold of funds you need quickly. It might also appear cheaper than paying the interest rates and fees charged for formal borrowing, particularly high-cost credit such as payday loans and doorstep lending (also known as home credit). Think carefully before you decide to go ahead. If they’re someone you know from work, or a group, how well do you really know them? If you struggle to pay them back or take longer to pay back the entire amount, is there a chance they could they put pressure on you to pay?  Be especially wary if they’ve lent money to other people too, as they could be a loan shark.

Can you afford to repay the money as well as your ongoing expenditure? 

Concern about Debt

Remember to prioritise essential expenditure – housing, council tax, energy, food before considering borrowing money or taking credit like an overdraft or credit card to pay for additional costs. 

Options to Consider before taking an additional debt

If you need help urgently

  • If you are struggling to afford food, heating or electricity we can help with a food voucher or emergency fuel voucher

Call our Freephone Adviceline on 0808 278 7969
Available Monday to Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Email us using our email contact form and an adviser will get back to you. Available Monday to Friday.

Webchat Visit the National Citizens Advice website with online webchat available. Webchat is open Monday to Friday: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Visit us Face-to-face support is available in some of our offices. However, our offices are open to drop-off paper work and discuss access to advice.

Other sources of advice:



National Debtline


Telephone 0808 808 4000

Mind – Money and Mental Health




Telephone for free – 116 123

Salvation Army


Warm Spaces

If you need somewhere to stay warm you can ask your local council if they have information about nearby ‘warm spaces’. These are public places that anyone can use to stay warm – for example a community space like a library.

You can find out how to contact your local council on GOV.UK