UK consumers are set to be back in the black this week as the balance of their current accounts begin to return to pre-Christmas levels.
According to data from TSB, March is the month when the Bank expects shoppers start to get back on top of their Christmas spending, having paid off their Christmas credit card bills and managed to come out of the un-festive red of their overdrafts.
However, the picture is not quite the same across the whole of the country with shoppers in Liverpool and Birmingham tending to pay off their Christmas debt quickest in January, compared to those in Essex and Thames Valley who won’t have paid off their spending until May.
By the time this month’s payday comes around, it is expected that only people in North and West London, East Anglia, Essex and the Thames Valley will still be battling with their festive spending as all other regions will have paid off their additional Christmas shopping.
Looking at credit cards alone, last year saw the average Brit increase their card balance by 2.7 per cent between October and December, the usual time for Christmas shopping. This is an increase from 2.1 per cent between the same period in 2014, showing a rise in consumer willingness to spend on plastic.
A spokesman for TSB, said: “Getting back in the black after Christmas can be difficult, particularly with temptation to spend in the January sales and the long weeks between December and January paydays, but it’s good to see many borrowers able to stay on top of their debts, even paying them off early.
“For those who are struggling to pay off any excess spending, it’s useful to make a monthly budget, keep a track of your daily spending and stick to a realistic plan to pay off the debt as soon as possible, making additional payments where possible. If people have high interest rates on their credit cards or overdrafts, it might be useful to shop around to see if it’s worth switching their debt to a lower rate.”
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