6 On Your Side Answers: How to handle holiday debt

Since it is so easy to take out a credit card to pay for purchases, a recent survey shows 38 percent of Americans have already racked up credit card charges this holiday season.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – With the holiday shopping season is in full swing, many of you may be paying with a credit card and as a result, racking up debt. More than a third of Americans are incurring debt this holiday season.

Janice in Farragut asks: “What should I do this holiday to keep my debt from growing?”

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Since it is so easy to take out a credit card to pay for purchases, a recent survey shows 38 percent of Americans have already racked up credit card charges this holiday season.

More than half, however, say they don’t expect their holiday debt to last long. Fifty-five percent say they’ll eliminate their Christmas debt within one month, while 74 percent expect that debt to linger no more than three months.

When CreditCard.com took a broad view of debt, their survey found that 18 percent of Americans with debt think they will never be debt free. That’s double the 9 percent who gave that response the last time this question was asked in May 2013.

Forty-three percent of those with debt expect to remain in debt at age 61 or later, including those 18 percent who predict they’ll still owe money when they die.

Advisors like Marcy Frankel at Clearpoint Credit Counseling in West Knoxville help people dig themselves out of debt in a responsible way while learning important budgeting skills that they’ll need to continue improving their financial situation.

The first thing you’re told by counselors is to keep a budget and stick to it.

“Even if it is a Coke at McDonald’s, write that down. Do that for three months and take a good look at what you are spending on your budget. Think about if it is something I really, really need or is it something I just want,” said Frankel.

Counselors say it’s important to make moves now to begin knocking down those debts before they truly grow out of control.

Counseling services like Clearpoint assist you in negotiating lower interest rates on your credit cards which can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in the long run while paying off your debt.


You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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