First Bank: Take Control of Holiday Debt Before the Holidays

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Be in Charge of Your Credit Card Bills

The spending is fun and well intended. The debt can be dreadful. With the holidays upon us, it's the perfect time to consider fiscal fitness. That is, how we can enjoy the season of gift buying while maintaining a healthy bank balance. The following tips from First Bank will help to keep holiday spending merry:

  •     Take all credit cards, except one, out of your wallet. If they're simply not available, you will think twice before you purchase.
  •     Set a "holiday" budget. Be realistic about how much money you have to spend this year, and try to increase that amount for next year.
  •     Create a holiday gift list early on, then stick to it.
  •     Shop for gifts year-round. You could find a great gift at a better price and your budget won't take a hit all at once.
  •     If you're an Internet shopper, look for deals such as free shipping.
  •     Window-shop on the Internet to learn about prices before ever stepping into the store. Some Internet items cost less than in the store, so you can see if you're getting a good deal. Also, the process will lessen your urge to buy on impulse.
  •     Don't carry holiday debt from one year to the next. Resolve to spend only what you can afford and don't go overboard. Friends and loved ones do not want you to be suffering from the results.
  •     One sign of financial trouble is acquiring more credit to help pay existing credit obligations and living expenses. Other signs include routinely spending more than you earn, using credit cards to pay for daily purchases and routinely making minimum payments to credit card companies. If this sounds familiar, contact the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), a not-for-profit service across the country.
  •     If you choose not to seek assistance from the CCCS, contact your creditors. Tell them why you're having trouble. Try to work out an acceptable payment schedule. Most are willing to work with you and will appreciate your honesty.

First Bank (http://www.firstbanks.com) is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country with more than $10.3 billion in assets and 209 locations in Missouri, Illinois, California, Texas and Florida.

Contact:
Greg Severin
Lents and Associates
314.968.3060

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Greg Severin
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