credit card

Millions of Americans pull out the plastic during the holidays,
using credit cards to pay for gifts, food and other holiday expenses. The intensive shopping often kicks off on Black Friday and extends into the New Year.

Come January, though, the bills begin to come due. Indeed, the
aftermath of holiday spending lingers for months after the holiday
decorations are boxed up the family dinners are a distant memory.

Some 38 percent of Americans go into debt to buy
gifts and 7 percent of consumers began the shopping season carrying
debt from the previous year’s gift buying. Only 5 percent worry that
they will still be paying on the debt before the end of 2016.

One in five Americans think they will never be debt free.

Paying off Christmas spending burdens many U.S. families and reduces
discretionary income for months after the festivities. Families across
the country struggle with balancing already tight budgets and paying
bills.

Budgeting 101

Financial advisers suggest paying off the most costly debt/loans
first, USA Today reports. They say consumers should consolidate their debt repayments into one low-interest credit card so they pay less money overall.

But for most Americans in debt, a different kind of debt paying
appears to work. A study cited by USA Today states that
consumers should pay off their small accounts first. It finds that the
ones who close more accounts, rather than reduce the size of a single
account, are more likely to clear their remaining debt.

Indeed, there are budgeting methods to help estimate spending and
save for next year’s holiday season. Among the strategies is to count
the members of your family, decide what you want to spend on each and
divide that by the number of paychecks you earn this year. With budget
in mind, shoppers can try to spread out the spending and buy gifts on
sale throughout the year.

When to Consider Bankruptcy

People with the best of intentions can find themselves facing
insurmountable debt. Combine existing debt with an unexpected illness
or job loss, and for some bankruptcy may become the only viable option.
If you believe you have no other options, you should speak to a bankruptcy attorney to review your options and get
your questions answered.