Avoiding post-holiday credit card blues

(Photo Supplied/Indiana News Service)

INDIANAPOLIS (Indiana News Service): While red is one of the colors of the holiday season, it’s not a good look for a bank account, and experts say racking up holiday debt can lead to a cycle that’s hard to break.

The average American will spend $936 on holiday gifts this year – the second highest amount on record – according to the National Retail Federation.

Financial planner Kathryn Greiner says the pressure to provide this time of year can lead people to take extreme measures, including turning to payday lenders.

“About 75 percent of all payday loans are payoffs for old payday loans, and a lot of folks who use these end up taking not just weeks but years to pay them off,” she states.

Greiner says using cash instead of credit cards to pay for holiday purchases can help curb the tendency to overspend.

She also recommends developing a written budget for next year’s holidays as soon as these are over. Many credit unions offer free financial counseling to help their members stick to their financial goals.

According to a recent survey, more than one in four Americans plans to rack up debt this holiday season that will linger more than a month, with two-thirds of those expecting to need three or more months to pay it off.

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