Now that the holidays have drawn to a close, many Americans are undoubtedly suffering from some sort of financial hangover. To illustrate, a recent survey by the American Research Group revealed that the average American consumer spent $646 on gifts during the holidays -- with much of this going directly onto credit cards. Fortunately, consumers in these scenarios do have some viable debt relief options.
Financial experts offer the following tips to consumers dealing with Christmas-related credit card debt.
Take stock of debt: Experts advise consumers to consider compiling a master list of all credit card debt accumulated over the holidays, including money spent on gifts, parties, decorations, etc. This is not only the first step in attempting to effectively manage Christmas-related credit card debt, but also a good way to gain insight into how much you usually spend during the holidays.
Create a payment plan: Using the aforementioned master list and a copy of your monthly budget, experts advise determining how much you can/need to set aside in order to pay down your Christmas-related credit card debt. It's important to keep in mind that it will be necessary to pay down more than just the minimum monthly payment in order to make real progress.
Limit credit card use: As you work to pay down your Christmas-related credit card debt, make sure all family members/authorized users are aware of your efforts. If necessary, advise them that you are enacting a temporary ban on the use of the credit cards in question or a spending limit. Experts advise checking monthly statements carefully to make sure everyone is complying.
Consider using additional income: In order to pay down Christmas-related credit card debt faster, experts recommend that consumers consider utilizing additional sources of income such as holiday bonus checks or early tax returns. They also suggest the possibility of taking on a part-time job or even selling items on internet web sites to raise additional funds.
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Whatever the cause, whatever the reasons behind your financial difficulties, take the time to speak with an experienced legal or financial professional if you would like to learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy or additional debt relief options.
The following post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or financial advice.
U.S. News & World Report - Money, "6 ways to destroy holiday debt" December 19, 2011
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