Family debt has risen to an average of £13,520 owing to the availability of cheap credit, a report suggests.
Average debt is at the highest level seen since the summer of 2013, insurer Aviva said, having risen by £4,000 in six months.
Aviva's research covers debt, excluding mortgages, during the latter months of 2015.
It follows figures from the Bank of England which showed consumer borrowing leapt ahead of Christmas.
Charities say that, for some individuals, a reliance on credit could become more problematic were interest rates to rise.
Increased borrowing can, however, be a sign of confidence in an improving economy.
The Aviva report suggested that families were saving £105 a month on average, with the typical family savings pot totalling £3,150.
"The alarming levels of rising household debt, along with a recent reduction in income and savings levels, paints an uncertain picture for the family purse in 2016," said Louise Colley, managing director of protection at Aviva.
"With the possibility that the Bank of England could raise interest rates this year, families who have grown accustomed to cheaper credit - particularly those who have spent heavily over the Christmas period - need to ensure they are still fully prepared to manage debt repayments, as well as other monthly outgoings, should rates go up," she said.