How to avoid debt this holiday season (2)
Earlier this week, we discussed a few ways in which our Georgia bankruptcy blog readers can avoid incurring large amounts of debt as they shop for family and friends this holiday season. Having a debt-avoidant mentality may be more important this year than in years past, as retailers adopt increasingly aggressive and tricky methods for getting consumers to spend money in their stores.
For example, many stores opened for Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, and websites have been sending out “leaked” Black Friday deals for weeks. In order to get customers to use their cards, some credit card companies have been sending out blank checks for cardholders to use while shopping. However, these checks often come with high interest rates, and can end up costing much more in the end. Similarly, credit card companies attach sneaky requirements and fees to bonus offers and rewards.
To avoid incurring these extra costs, don’t fall prey to special credit card offers, such as bonuses for meeting set spending levels and increased cash back in (very) specific categories. Credit card companies know what they are doing, and what they are doing is getting you to spend more, whether or not you can afford to do so.
If you are unable to pay for your gifts at once, consider using layaway. Many retailers have lowered or waived layaway fees, which allows customers to pay for their purchases over time with no interest.
Finally, one of the best money-saving tips is also a good reminder about the true spirit of the holiday season. If you can’t afford to give gifts, get creative. Give free experiences, such as a nature outing or a home-cooked meal. Even better, give back, signing you and your loved one up to volunteer together. For many people on your list, that may be the best gift idea of all.
Source: The Associated Press, “5 tips to steer clear of debt in holiday shopping,” Dave Carpenter, Nov. 14, 2012
If you are already in debt and unable to pay it off, bankruptcy may be the best option for you. Please visit our bankruptcy page for more information on this process.