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Thinking about holiday-related debt

Now that Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten and Black Friday sales have been shopped, the holiday season is officially in full swing. For many Americans, there are so many reasons to be joyous and celebratory this year. However, many Americans are similarly facing significant pressures to spend beyond their means over the coming weeks. Given the consequences of overwhelming credit card debt, these pressures can turn the season from holly jolly to stressful and frustrating.

For anyone without the ability to purchase gifts on their liquid income upfront, holiday expenses tend to get placed on credit cards. With every purchase, consumers are essentially asked to evaluate whether the gift, food item or other holiday expense they are incurring is worth the debt that they are stacking up. Because come January, these purchases will all appear on a credit card statement. Those who cannot pay these purchases off right away will incur interest and even fees associated with this holiday-related debt.

The consumer pressures associated with this season are real. It would be easy to give our readers the advice that they should simply spend within their means. However, it is not always possible for families on a tight budget to spend within their means even when holiday-related consumer pressures are not overwhelming. And it can be nearly impossible for parents to think of completely forgoing gifts for their children when most other children receive plenty at this time of year.

At the end of the day, only you can fully understand your unique financial situation and what purchases are worth the consequences of holiday-related debt. As long as you keep the fact that these purchases may haunt your billing cycle for months to come in mind, you will hopefully be inspired to purchase the minimum amount of holiday purchases for your unique situation and tackle your debt as quickly as possible if you choose to incur any.

Source: Yahoo Shine, "The new holiday tradition of deciding who's worth your debt," Flannery Dean, Nov. 19, 2013

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