CareOne Helps Tackle Holiday Debt Problems Holiday Debt Can Make Any Consumer Feel Like a Grinch

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Americans are officially in shop till they drop mode, with the National Retail Federation predicting holiday spending to reach $457.4 billion this year. The increase of 5 percent in holiday spending will likely mean that by Jan. 1 Americans will face the traditional stack of bills and depleted bank accounts causing an increase in the expected number of U.S. consumers to pursue debt relief in 2007.

The better you plan, the less you'll spend

The holiday shopping season is in the home stretch, and the topic of consumer debt has not only come into focus in millions of American homes, it has also made a splash on the big screen.

The documentary "In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts," has painted a bleak picture of consumer debt in the United States, portraying the nation's citizens as victims of credit card companies and lenders, and in desperate need of a financial education.

Education is the key, and companies that teach consumers to be financially savvy like the CareOne Credit Counseling agencies (careonecredit.com) have seen their business increase sharply, with more than 400,000 Americans making inquiries in the month of October. And when the holiday season ends, it's likely many more will need the guidance provided by CareOne agencies.

"Consumers could save themselves a lot of money if they just took some time to organize before the holiday shopping season swings into gear," said CareOne spokeswoman Clarky Davis. "Making some simple changes on how and when you shop can really make a difference in sticking to your holiday budget."

A sound budget during the holiday season and throughout the year seems to be lacking for many Americans. It's estimated that American consumers owe $2.17 trillion in debt on mortgages, auto loans and credit cards, according to the most recent statistics from the Federal Reserve. The film suggests possible government action to help regulate the problem, but ultimately sends the message that debt is the responsibility of the affected consumer, who should seek out the help of agencies offering the CareOne debt management service, especially during the holidays.

"Many consumers relax the rules on holiday spending, said Davis. "But they forget that it can take months to pay off credit card bills."

And the credit card companies are not in business of making credit less tempting. More than six billion credit cards offers were mailed in 2005, an average of six per household, according to government statistics. The industry also took in $43 billion in fee income from late payments, over-limit fees and balance transfer fees in 2004, up from $39 billion in 2003.

Consumers can fight back, however, with a sound strategy to effectively manage holiday spending, and change year-long habits as well. A five-point plan from CareOne agencies includes, creating a budget; creating a gift list by recipient; sticking to a two card-limit; taking yourself off the shopping list; and using inexpensive shipping. Following the advice of CareOne credit counseling agencies that provide debt consolidation services will lead to happier and financially healthier holidays to come.

"The better you plan, the less you'll spend," said Davis. "People usually get into financial trouble when they spend without considering the consequences. CareOne agencies help consumers change their way of thinking, and during the holiday season, it pays to be a smart shopper and a smart spender."

About CareOne Credit Counseling

The CareOne Credit Counseling service mark is owned by 3C Incorporated.

Organizations that bear the CareOne Credit Counseling service mark are industry leaders committed to providing consumers with superior financial fitness education and service.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Clarky Davis, Spokesperson

CareOne Credit Counseling Services

8930 Stanford Blvd

Columbia, MD 21045

410-910-2750

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Clarky Davis
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