Budget Busting Holiday Credit Card Spending Returns

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The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) shares advice for managing holiday spending to avoid a January debt hangover.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Every shopper should plan to know exactly how much they can afford to spend and where they can save the most.

Retailers and credit card companies are anticipating an active holiday shopping season fueled by robust levels of consumer spending. Because this comes at a time when credit card balances and delinquency rates are increasing nationwide, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) cautions debt-burdened shoppers about overspending based on temporary sales or introductory financing offers.

Results of the most recent NFCC Consumer Financial Literacy Survey revealed significantly more U.S. adults indicate their household carries credit card debt from month to month as compared to last year, with nearly two in ten adults saying they roll over $2,500 or more in credit card debt each month. The Federal Reserve Bank reported earlier this year that second quarter revolving charge delinquency rates reached 2.47 percent from 2.20 percent at the same time last year.

“Although employment levels are better than they have been in years, more people are struggling to keep their credit card balances under control and paid on time,” said NFCC spokesman Bruce McClary. “Every shopper should plan to know exactly how much they can afford to spend and where they can save the most.”

To help ease the seasonal credit crunch, here are some tips for keeping finances afloat through December:

1. Know how much financial fuel is in the tank before spending. One way to know where things stand is to use an online financial tool like MyMoneyCheckup®, available at no cost as a part of the Sharpen Your Financial Focus® program of the NFCC.

2. Make a plan to affordably repay any holiday debt before reaching for the credit cards.

3. Consider saving money by limiting trips to the store or doing most of the shopping online.

4. A little research on sales can go a long way toward increasing savings. Compare all costs associated with a purchase including shipping, fuel, parking, taxes and various retail fees.

5. Stop spending when the money runs out. Don’t apply for more credit when there is nothing left in savings and credit card balances are at their limit.

Maintaining good financial health is just as important between Thanksgiving and Christmas as it is any other time of the year. Reaching out to an NFCC member agency for help is one of the best moves a person can make when feeling the financial pressure of the holiday season. Allowing a trained and certified financial professional to review the financial situation now can put a person in a much better position to survive the holiday spending season.

To be automatically connected to an NFCC member agency, dial (800) 388-2227, or visit the NFCC website at http://www.NFCC.org to find an agency online.

About the NFCC

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit dedicated to improving people’s financial well-being. With a national network of member offices serving 50 states and Puerto Rico, our NFCC® Certified Credit Counselors are financial advocates, empowering millions of consumers to take charge of their finances through one-on-one financial reviews that address credit card debt, student loans, housing decisions and overall money management. Make one of the best financial decisions of your life. For expert guidance and advice, call (800) 388-2227 or visit http://www.nfcc.org today.

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