NEW RBS Group research shows the extent of Christmas overspending on consumer behaviour - over half of the British adults polled said they are “forfeiting” their social life and cutting down on food shopping to try and rebalance their accounts.

A fifth of all people questioned admitted to feeling “stressed and anxious” about their finances.

Fifteen per cent of people in the West Midlands have considered using a payday loans company (second only to East Anglia) and those in the region are most likely to feel worried and anxious about their spending habits.

As well as over half cutting their social lives, around one in 10 in the West Midlands say they need to cut down on essentials like food and transport as a result of the post-Christmas squeeze while more than 40 per cent say they have been set back by needing to pay for repairs to house or car, the highest percentage in the UK.

Around a fifth of people in the West Midlands feel stressed about their finances and over a quarter believe it has impacted on their relationship.

The research overall shows Brits are struggling to stick to a budget and avoid going into debt, following overspending in December. Eighty-eight per cetn of people admit to getting into debt on a regular basis, with 33% claiming that they will need to dip into their savings to compensate for Christmas spending.

The new research also uncovered a range of wider financial challenges confronting the British public. For example, 30% of people blame their money issues on “being unable to budget”, while nearly a quarter (22%) admitted to “not fully understanding” the value of money.

A quarter (23%), however, of people said that using online services and developing a saving plan would help them to save money, while 16% thought that speaking to a bank adviser would have a positive impact on their ability to save.

Corinne Sweet, relationship psychologist, said: “Going in and out of debt at this time of year can cause emotional distress to people after the Christmas holidays, especially as the bills roll in after Christmas.

“This can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety and a feeling of being out of control. However, even if saving, or budgeting, is something new to you, learning basic budgeting skills can help quell the anxiety and stress, leading to a greater sense of personal power and increased control in an uncertain world.”