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Keep an eye on your holiday debt, spending

With unemployment at a record low and a decade of lean years in the rear-view mirror, analysts say Americans are likely to spend more on their kids’ Christmas presents this year than in recent history. Correspondingly, that means more debt this year than before, and it’s a trap experts say should make Americans wary.

A recent survey shows that more Americans plan on using credit cards to finance Christmas purchases than last year, Another survey shows that the increased credit card debt will take an average of one month more to pay off, adding more in interest payments to those bills.

Keep a cap on the wish list

Another recent survey shows that 45 percent of parents say this Christmas, they will try to get every item on their children’s wish list, will spend more than their holiday budget, will likely go into debt and be less likely to put money into their retirement savings.

Parents quite reasonably want to get their children as many presents as possible from their wish lists. Financial advisors suggest it might be smarter to have children limit their wish lists rather than have parents mortgage their future to fulfil a hefty Christmas demand packet.

Such discipline not only helps parents and their bank accounts, but also teaches children about the value of a gift, experts claim. It also helps teach them to be financially responsible grown-ups, experts assert.

Four tips to avoid holiday debt

A financial expert offered these four tips to keep spending in line:

Stick to your budget. Allocate a budget for the holidays and stick to it.

Use cash. Cash can help you understand the value of what you are spending. If you have $100 in bills, you stop spending when that $100 is gone.

Avoid store credit cards. A 10-percent savings on one day of shopping can disappear fast when you are paying 4 percent on every other day of shopping through the year.

Dont buy for yourself. The expert claims 22 percent of Americans buy gifts for themselves. That’s money that can stay off credit cards and remain in the bank for bills, education or retirement.

Yet another survey shows 15 percent of Americans are still paying off 2017’s gift purchases. Experts suggest smarter spending.

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Gastonia, NC 28054

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