Christmas Bills - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/09/07 - Lufkin

Christmas Bills

by Tashun Chism

Research shows many credit card owners go into the new year with huge amounts of debt accumulated from Christmas spending.

"Typically, about the middle of November, my business kind of goes down becuase people are not wanting to stop that credit until after the holidays. But, on January 2nd, I had 10 appointments, and I usually have five," said Doneice Smith of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Lufkin.

She knows credit card debt is easy to get into, but can be hard to get out of.

"When the bill comes, they still don't have the money to pay for it, and now then, interest has been added, and if they don't pay it on time, a late fee has been added, and if they go over their limit they set with the creditor, there's another fee. And so, sometimes a two or three hundred-dollar purchase can turn into a four or five hundred-dollar bill very quickly."

One reason many people go into the new year with credit card debt is because they don't plan out their holiday shopping ahead of time.

"Pre-plan your spending. Do buy on sale when you can, and buy throughout the year. Have a special place in your house where you can put these items so that you don't have to do too much last minute shopping, and then, maybe, you wouldn't even have to charge it," suggested Smith.

For those who already have a lot of debt from holiday spending, there are ways to get out of it. A debt management counselor can sometimes be a big help in finding alternatives to help you get back on track.

"Don't abuse credit. You can use it, but don't abuse it. If you can't pay for it the day you charge it, [it's] likely you're not gonna be able to pay for it when the bill comes due," Smith cautioned.

For more information on credit card reports and what you can do to get out of credit card debt, you can visit annualcreditreport.com.

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