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5 ways to avoid holiday debt this season

Posted: 8:01 AM, Nov 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-26 09:04:17-05

Thirty-five million Americans are still paying off debt from last year's holiday season, according to a survey conducted by WalletHub.

In fact, one local credit consultant says she's seen countless clients still buried in 2018 holiday bills.

7 Action News reporter Ameera David brings you a few tips on how to rein in the spending and avoid falling into debt so you don't waste your money!

"The biggest gift I'll give for Christmas is love," said Dwayne Redding.

Love is the best – and cheapest gift to give, but unfortunately it's not always the only gift expected.

Crystal Matthews has a laundry list of people to shop for this year.

"My fiance, stepson, my mom and his mom," said Crystal Matthews.

So does Ledawn Elsberry. And while its not their intention to overspend. They know it can happen especially around the holidays.

So we're linking up with credit expert, Ebony Cochran to find out how you can stay in control of those holiday finances.

"We need figure out who are we shopping for, how much am I going to spend on this particular person?" said Ebony Cochran of Blackwood Credit Services .

Tip #1

Create a detailed shopping plan where you consider limiting the amount of people you need to buy for.

"Not the coworkers, not the neighbors this year, not the teachers, maybe just your immediate family," Cochran said.

But taking that plan into a store? Not necessarily the smartest idea!

If I went into the store for one item and I saw a great deal on something else, yes, I would get it at that time," said Ledawn Elsberry.

That's because retailers make every effort to tempt you into making those on the spot purchases.

Tip #2

Avoid stepping foot in a big box store, and consider buying gift cards instead.

"You can get e-gift cards, you can go to CVS and get gift cards, because if I go to Walmart and buy gifts, I might buy more stuff," said Cochran.

Tip #3

If you insist on being in store, then tip #3 is to only take the exact amount you need in cash. That way you're less likely to go over budget!

Tip #4

But the best way to avoid debt over the holidays is not to wait for the holidays to shop. Tip #4 is to take $25 from every paycheck and buy a gift card that you can save for holiday spending.

Tip #5

"For 26 weeks, that's $650. So imagine what that can do for shopping and you've saved that over the year," according to Cochran.

Bottom line: The key to not overspending is having a plan, so even if you have to take a pen to paper, do it. Write it out and stick to it, that way you don't waste your money.