It's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays, but that often means spending more without thinking it through. When that happens, many people fund holiday spending with credit cards -- an action that is often regretted when January statements hit mailboxes. The best way to prevent such regret is to avoid costly holiday spending, but if you've found yourself in an untenable debt solution at any time of year, there are options for help.
Putting holiday spending -- or any unnecessary spending, such as vacations -- on your credit cards can be detrimental to credit and much more costly than you might imagine. Using credit cards during the season and paying them off immediately is one thing, but if you carry the debt over for months or years, you can end up paying double what the original purchases were worth.
Maxing out your cards on any purchase can also potentially increase other expenses. Your FICO score is calculated, in part, on how much debt you have related to open credit lines. Maxing out card accounts lowers your score, which can impact the cost of your car insurance or the cost of future credit. Maxed out credit accounts could, for example, create a higher interest rate should you want to fund a car or home purchase in the near future.
You might have a plan to pay off your credit card debt, but income and expense situations change. Sudden medical expenses or a change in your employment status can derail debt reduction plans. If you are experiencing such a situation, don't wallow in your debt. Instead, seek assistance from an experienced professional who can walk you through options for debt relief, including bankruptcy.
Source: Forbes, "Revealing The True Cost Of Holiday Credit Card Debt," Nick Clements, accessed Jan. 15, 2016