Holiday Debt is a Part of Almost Every Consumer's Money Problems in January: AICCCA Offers HInts for Planning a Debt Free Holiday

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The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies reports that its members see a January jump in consumers seeking help for their credit card debt immediately after the holiday season. AICCCA recommends planning for holiday spending in advance in order to avoid adding to debt loads and offers tips for planning a debt-free holiday.

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“Too often consumers get caught up in the rush of the holidays without planning ahead and knowing what they can realistically afford,” said Christopher Viale, chairman of the board, AICCCA.

The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies reports that its members see a January jump in consumers seeking help for their credit card debt immediately after the holiday season. AICCCA recommends planning for holiday spending in advance in order to avoid adding to debt loads.

“Too often consumers get caught up in the rush of the holidays without planning ahead and knowing what they can realistically afford,” said Christopher Viale, chairman of the board, AICCCA. “Unfortunately, many consumers will still be paying off last year’s holiday expenses when they start shopping this year.”

AICCCA offers these hints for planning a debt-free holiday:

  • Know how much you can afford to spend. Look at what you have spent in past years and make a dollar decision based on what you can afford to spend this year, without relying on credit.
  • Write it down. List everything you plan to buy and assign a dollar amount for each item. Take your list with you when you shop and mark off as you go. Put your item in your cart, cross it off your list and move on.
  • Keep track of your purchases. Subtract the cost of each item from your total budget.
  • Comparison shop. This is especially true for big-ticket items, but it can also pay off for smaller purchases. Take advantage of sales and coupons.
  • Make it, bake it, promise it. Homemade treats or crafts are perfect for friends, neighbors and co-workers. Coupons for pet sitting, car washes or garage cleaning may be just the ticket for others on your list. Use your imagination to come up with the perfect service that will long be remembered by friends and family.
  • When your list is complete, stop shopping. The sooner you finish, the sooner you will stop spending money and enjoying the true spirit of the holidays, knowing you have not added to your debt load.

Founded in 1993, Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) is a national membership organization, established to promote quality and consistent delivery of credit counseling services. AICCCA and its members are focused on improved creditor relations, efficient processes and advanced technology to best serve clients and creditors. AICCCA members are independent nonprofit agencies that advocate for debtors, counsel millions of consumers annually nationwide and provide debt management services to consumers with excessive unsecured debt. For more information or to contact an AICCCA member office call (800) 450-1794 or visit http://www.aiccca.org.

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