People’s finances are becoming increasingly stretched and Christmas could cause problems unless shoppers plan carefully, a national charity has commented.
Citizens Advice has warned that each January its bureaux see a "surge" in the number of people seeking debt help and information on bankruptcy.
Teresa Perchard, director of policy for Citizens Advice, acknowledged it can be easy to overspend at Christmas by making "spur of the moment" purchases.
However, she warned: "Every year, we see a huge increase in debt problems immediately afterwards. With a little forward planning, Christmas panic buying can be avoided."
Earlier this year, Citizens Advice reported that 2006-07 saw an increase of 20 per cent in the number of people seeking help with problem debt.
It claimed some creditors were guilty of acting irresponsibly by lending to people who cannot afford their repayments.
Ms Perchard said last month that personal debt is one of the biggest issues the British economy faces.