A report by the charity Step Change warns that social media is heightening the pressure to get into debt at Christmas.
Social media is fuelling an escalation of debt around Christmas time, according to an online campaign from debt charity StepChange. The charity has launched its #christmasdebt campaign across social media to warn about the dangers of financial problems through spending over Christmas. This is through a fear of missing out.
Make a list and check it twice! Other people’s posts on social media can give you festive #FOMO and tempt you to splash out. Keep those impulse purchases at bay by writing a Christmas list and sticking to it. t.co/Q7mEVm8XSS #ChristmasDebt pic.twitter.com/wa7vFBQf7fStepChange (@StepChange) December 16, 2019
This is based on its research, which shows that a third of social media users feel pressurised to have a good Christmas because of what others are posting via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Around a fifth (19 per cent) said they fell like they have to prove they’re having a good Christmas by posting on social media. In addition, 17 per cent feel pressured to post about what they’re doing on social media during the festive season. Millennials are predicted to the most at risk from a post Christmas financial crisis with 41 per cent accruing debt at this time of year. Meanwhile, a third will be using credit to pay for or part of their Christmas spending and it takes seven month on average to pay off Christmas credit spending.
The charity is urging those who are experiencing financial problems at Christmas to contact the charity, including using an online debt help tool. This session usually takes around 20 minutes. Phone advice is also available. StepChange Director of External Affairs Richard Lane said: "Celebrating the festive season is fun but getting into debt for it isn’t. Retailers and credit providers must not encourage over-borrowing at the expense of people’s long-term financial health. "If it’s going to take many months to repay what you borrow to pay for Christmas, it’s worth pausing for a moment to think about whether your friends and family would really want you to suffer financially as a result of your generosity. Most people would much prefer their loved ones to have a financially happy new year than a swanky present."