Keeping Your Holiday Credit Card Debt in Check
Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers Share Tips on how To avoid holiday credit card debt
Everyone gets into the spirit of gift-giving around the holidays – some of us a little more so than others. It can be easy to spend a lot of money on family and friends with the intention of showing them how much you care and how special they are to you. However, if you’re not careful, you can spend your way into debt and even bankruptcy in your efforts to express your affection.
We’re sure that your friends and family would much rather have the gift of your presence than to see you run up serious debt that could lead to your need for a bankruptcy attorney. Here are a few other things you can do to keep your holiday credit card debt in check so that you don’t run into serious financial troubles:
Budget: Don’t Overspend With Credit
Make a complete list of everyone you want to give a gift. Include not just your immediate family members and close friends, but also anyone else you might want to give even a small gift, such as your children’s teachers, your mail carrier, or your trash pickup. You will then need to set a budget for each person – and stick to that budget.
It can be easy to overspend at the holidays because you shop on impulse and spend more than you intended for each person. You can also overspend because you forget to include people in your list, such as those teachers and professionals, and you nickel and dime your way up to hundreds more dollars in spending. Create a comprehensive budget and stick to it.
Avoid Department Store Credit Cards
Many stores offer their own credit cards. They offer you great introductory rates or other perks, like cash back or free gifts, to entice you to sign up for the card. But these cards encourage you to overspend (you can’t use them anywhere else, and you feel more free to shop when you know you have the credit with the store). The stores are also counting on you not to pay off the balance each month and so to incur interest.
Just say no to these store credit cards. If you must shop with credit, use one of your other credit cards. But better still is to purchase all your gifts with cash. Credit just encourages you to buy what you can’t actually afford.
Limit Credit Purchases With A Gift Exchange
Why do you need to purchase a gift for every person you know? You can still get into the spirit of the holidays and not spend as much money by participating in a gift exchange. Then you draw one name, give one great gift, and get one great gift in return. Everyone feels like they have been a part of giving and receiving, and everyone keeps their expenses low.
Suggest a gift exchange with your family and with your friend groups. You may end up buying a handful of gifts for the season instead of dozens.
Buy Early for Next Year
When the holiday season is over, stores start selling everything at deeply discounted prices. If you have some foresight, you can buy gifts for a fraction of the cost, and save big next holiday season. If you get into the practice of doing this every year, you can always have nice gifts ready without overspending.
Just be mindful not to put these gifts on your credit card. Even discounted gifts can accrue interest on a credit card, and you can end up paying more than full price over the long term if you aren’t careful. Don’t overspend in January only to call a bankruptcy attorney in July.
Keep Gift Giving in Perspective
You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses and buy Beat headphones or brand new iPhones for everyone on your list. You can give a small but meaningful gift that costs you very little and get the same enjoyment out of the holidays.
Keep your gift giving in perspective. Focus on gifts that are thoughtful, rather than on the labels they carry or how much they cost. You may even consider making gifts or giving the gift of your time. Know that your loved ones would rather have a gift that came from your heart instead of a designer gift that cost you so much it led to debt problems that required a call to a bankruptcy lawyer.
Make your holiday season truly bright. Follow these tips to keep your credit card debt under control while still being able to give your loved ones great gifts and enjoying the holiday season together.
If you have already run up credit card debt that has gotten out of control, call Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers to learn more about your options through bankruptcy protection. We represent clients in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which offers a total liquidation of credit card and other unsecured debt, and in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which restructures your debts into a repayment plan, allowing you to keep assets such as your home or vehicle. Call our bankruptcy law office in Gilbert today to schedule a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer and learn more.