It’s no surprise that Americans rack up a huge proportion of their credit card debts during the holidays traveling, spending and gift giving.
During the Christmas season the average American household’s credit card debt spikes up – and largely stays up. According to NerdWallet’s 2017 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report, gift-buying Americans planned to spend $660 on average, which half surpassed that budget largely. 27% also admitted they had no budget at all and freely spent. Every season, shoppers intend to use their credit cards to fund their purchases and find themselves stuck in last years debt the following year.
Be realistic, either expense the trip and skip the gifts or vice versa. Travel is one of the biggest reasons we accumulate credit card debt over the holidays. Very few American families can afford to take that cross-country vacation to visit the in-laws, but the social and familial pressures of the holidays will often be enough to cause a family to add to their debt.
Make room in your budget to purchase gifts little by little, so your finances don’t spiral out of control from November to December. To be blunt, planning ahead won’t necessarily make you immune to credit card debt, but it is a way to ensure you’ve got breathing space both for paying off your debts and spending during the season. Planning will let you understand if there’s any spending you can do without, freeing up money for holiday spending and debts. A detailed plan will help you make payments on time, thus avoiding penalties and avoidable interest payments.
While money might be tight these holidays, never pay just the minimum on your credit card. While it might seem manageable, you will always be paying more in the end. Paying only the minimum is a huge factor why many of this years’ holiday shoppers still haven’t paid off their credit card purchases from years back.
When buying gifts for others, try to make sure that it’s something meaningful. A gift is supposed to be a thoughtful gesture, they don’t always have to be lavish expensive wants. Be practical and make sure you can afford what you are purchasing from family and friends.
Stay on track for your Christmas shopping this season by being realistic, having a detailed budget and paying off your balances on time. If you find yourself still sweating from last years holiday debt, Americor offers debt consolidation and conditional lines of credit to clear your debt and help you start over with your money.