Holiday generosity can result in massive credit card debt
It probably comes as no surprise to Georgia readers that December is the peak time for American consumers to use credit cards. According to reports, Americans will be charging approximately $131 billion during the month of December. That’s 16.4 percent above the average. While all those holiday deals seem too good to resist, they can lead to massive credit card debt.
A survey released by Gallup stated that the average middle class household will spend $1,035 during the 2013 holiday season. Additionally, the average interest rate for balance transfer credit cards is 15.8 percent. Consumers who only make minimum monthly payments under those circumstances will take nine years to pay off the debt, with the total interest paid of $773. Using department store credit cards can make the situation even worse, since interest rates tend to be higher.
There are ways to avoid this beyond just paying more than the minimum each month. Sticking to a shopping list may curb overspending, since it helps shoppers focus on what they intend to buy. In addition, online shopping prevents consumers from handling the merchandise a habit that often results in additional spending.
While some Georgia consumers are able to pay down massive credit card debt quickly, it can be a struggle for others. Those who are weighed down by debt may find it beneficial to speak to someone about debt relief options. In some cases, filing for bankruptcy may make the most sense. A Chapter 7 filing often discharges credit card debts, while a Chapter 13 typically offers the chance to pay off the debt via manageable repayment options. Either situation may help the consumer to get back on track and work toward a more positive financial future.
Source: myfoxphoenix.com, Willis Report: Avoiding the credit card holiday hangover, Gerri Willis, Nov. 28, 2013