Finance: Britons count the cost of Christmas

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Nearly half of Britons find the expense of Christmas more stressful than having to cope with the family over the festive period, a survey out yesterday showed.

And 23 per cent said that their New Year's resolution was to organise their personal finances properly.

The survey, for the consumer finance company Beneficial, showed that 45 per cent of people questioned were worried about finding the money to pay for Christmas. Only a quarter found it stressful to deal with the family during that period.

Generally, nearly one in five (18 per cent) was worried about paying the utility bills next year, and 15 per cent were anxious about finding the money to pay their mortgages or rents.

Most people were more concerned about paying the basic domestic bills than whether they could afford expensive luxuries like holidays, the survey found. Bernie Woollard, marketing controller of Beneficial, said: "With windfall money now spent or invested, interest rates rising and property prices levelling off, this year end is likely to mark the close of a mini-boom."

For the survey, 2,101 adults were interviewed between 7 November and 11 November.