The holidays are coming quickly and for those already dealing with credit card balances, it can be stressful. The holidays put everyone under a lot of pressure to spend money on gifts, travel, and food, and many have to use credit to pay for it.
The average debt Americans took on for the holiday season was $1,054 in 2017, a 5% increase from 2016, and paying it off isn’t a quick process. Half of shoppers who put their holiday debts on credit took up to three months to pay it back, while 29% took six months to pay.
Another 10% only made minimum payments, meaning their holiday debts could nearly double by the time it’s been paid back.
In Canada, holiday debt is an even bigger problem, with Canadians taking on an average of $1,500 in holiday debt, likely due to higher prices for consumer goods like electronics and toys, as well as higher travel costs.
When debt takes a long time to pay back, the interest can make your gift shopping considerably more expensive.
There are several sources of holiday debt and each one is worth considering if you want to avoid debt this Christmas:
The biggest thing you can do to help keep your holiday spending under control is to change your expectations and change the expectations of your family. Kids will ask for the world when it comes to Christmas gifts. You have to trust that even if you can’t afford the latest and greatest gadget to come out, they’ll appreciate their gifts come Christmas Day.
If you don’t yet have kids of your own, but parents who expect you to come home every holiday, travel might be your biggest expense. If you’ve moved far away from your family for work, school, or to be with your partner, flying home for the holidays can be out of your budget.
The holidays are when train, bus, and plane tickets are at their most expensive. Have a conversation with your family about their expectations for your annual return. It may be time to make your own Christmas traditions without breaking the bank to travel.
If you’re struggling to make minimum payments because of holiday debt, unexpected expenses, loss of income, or high interest rates, you may want to talk a bankruptcy trustee, now known as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, such as David Sklar & Associates.
When your debts are too large to keep up with repayments, there are options you can use to get out of debt. Bankruptcy is not your only option. A consumer proposal in Canada is another way out of debt, and David Sklar can help you with the process. A consumer proposal protects your assets and allows you to repay your debts in monthly payments without having to worry about interest or legal proceedings.
It’s important to make a budget and control your holiday spending, but when you’re already in too much debt, you need help. Talk to a bankruptcy trustee about reducing credit card debt through a consumer proposal.