By Daniel Hunter

Almost two in five UK adults (about 18 million people) say they are ‘worrying’ about how they will afford Christmas this year as families face increased financial pressures, according to latest findings from the Money Advice Service.

The Service’s annual Christmas spending survey shows that despite intentions to cut back, one in three UK adults admit they expect to start 2014 in debt because of the cost of festivities.

One in three UK adults will pay for the holiday using credit cards and 1.2 million admit they plan to turn to payday loans to cover the cost of Christmas.

This year collective seasonal spending is expected to reach £24 billion - £1 billion less than Christmas 2012.

The research, conducted among 2,000 UK adults, reveals almost one in ten adults is still paying for Christmas 2012. Although people anticipate Christmas will cost them £487 this year — that’s £21 less than 2012, almost two in five adults say Christmas 2013 will be more difficult for them to afford this year.

Two in five respondents surveyed said they feel pressure to put on a special Christmas for their family, and say they stretch themselves financially over the festive season. Although more than two in five say they are happy to cut back on other costs to fund Christmas spending, more than one in four UK adults admit to getting carried away at Christmas and spending more than they can afford.

“Christmas is an exciting time to catch up with family and friends but can also be a worry financially, and very stressful if money is tight. Getting to grips with the costs in advance of the big day will help you take control of your spending and alleviate some of the pressure,” said Jane Symonds, head of service delivery at the Money Advice Service.

“Our advice and money advisers (on 0300 500 5000) are here to help everyone worry less about their festive finances and enjoy the season a little more knowing they are in control of their money matters.”

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