SPRINGFIELD, MO (01/09/18) - Christmas and holiday shopping can be fun but once you get those bills in the mail that’s when the mood changes and you probably need to take a hard look at how you’re spending your money and using credit cards.
Stats show that holiday shoppers racked in an average of $1,054 of debt this year and most of it was put on credit cards.
“You know if you’re not using cash it can be easy to swipe that card and wrack in more debt than you realize," says Heather Caldwell with Mercy's Credit Union.
Magnify Money reports show that 68 percent of shoppers holiday debt came from credit cards, up 8 percent from 2016. But Caldwell says there are ways you can get out of debt.
“I think first and foremost, making a plan," says Caldwell. "Write down your debts and getting a plan of action going.” Making a budget is another trick she says is helpful. And starting your kids early on making budgets can set them up for success.
“Set them up a savings account," she says. "Maybe they’re going to do a little Christmas shopping and it’s great to teach them how to shop responsibly, as well.”
Consumer counseling agencies see a 25 percent increase during the month of January. And reported by Magnify Money, if you make “$25 minimum payments it will take you until 2023 to pay off the average holiday debt of $1,054.”
Caldwell says credit cards aren’t all that bad. It’s just knowing how to use them.
“Building credit and things like that are going to help you down the road when you want to buy a home or a larger purchase like a car," explains Caldwell.
Other tricks Caldwell says is to use apps. Download an app on your phone that tracks your money. Also, she says use your financial institution.