Many Britons are unaware of the realities of their financial situation and have continued spending, a new report has warned.
Research by Alliance Trust has claimed people have been spending "beyond their means" for the last two years and are now highly in debt.
Shona Dobbie, head of the Alliance Trust Research Centre, said she anticipates a slow in consumer spending but warned that many households have yet to face up to "financial reality".
"We are seeing particular pressure on budgets with higher food and fuel prices and heavy levels of debt and mortgage payments," she warned.
For some debtors, the aftermath of the credit crunch means their financial reality is an inability to cope with their level of borrowing.
One possible option for those facing insolvency is an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA).
Such court-approved agreements allow the debtor to make repayments at an affordable level for a set period of time, usually about five years.
At the end of that time, an IVA means any remaining debt is written off, effectively setting the borrower debt free.