Average family debt is £55,808

tighten belt piggy bank

tighten belt piggy bankAt Christmas it can be easy let your heart rule your head and go over the top when buying presents and food for your loved ones.

Whether it's the cold weather, your own sense of expectation, or the puppy dog eyes so wonderfully perfected by the kids, "no" is just a lot harder to say at this time of year!

But after new research suggested that many families have seen their debt increase over the last four weeks, now might be the right time to tighten our belts whether we want to or not.

No one wants to come across like a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in the run up to the big day, but saying "Bah! Humbug!" to a unnecessary extravagances could make a big difference come the new year.

The need to think beyond 25 December has been highlighted by results from Credit Action's Debt Statistics, which indicate that a house is repossessed around every 15 minutes, while 1,611 people are losing their jobs on a daily basis.

The findings show that including mortgages, £55,808 is the average household debt, and £29,539 is the average amount owed by every UK adult.

Michelle Highman, CEO of Credit Action, said: "All of us are facing a really tough time this Christmas. Over the course of the next 25 days there will be significant pressure for us to increase our spending and possibly borrow more to fund it.

"Try not to live beyond your means over the festive period - otherwise you might face a difficult New Year. Make a Christmas budget and try to stick to it and avoid unnecessary expenditure, so you can enjoy the celebrations with a sense of financial security."

The good news is, getting to grips with your household bills needn’t take long. In fact, there are plenty of things you can pack into just half an hour. Take a look at our 30 minute budget makeover to help set your Christmas budget.

While the need to be careful this year is plain for all to see, that doesn't mean any of the fun, or good will, surrounding the season has to be eroded.

For example, getting the kids involved in creating personalised Christmas cards and decorations could actually increase the spirit within the family whilst cutting down on costs.

Meanwhile, hand crafting packages of cakes and other confectionery could be a great way to give your nieces and nephews a festive treat without spending too much.