Audio: Keeping Debt Down During the Holidays

Audio: Keeping Debt Down During the Holidays article image.

With the busy nature of the holidays, it's all too easy to lose track of your spending as you check the boxes to make your season perfect. How can you keep a handle on spending at this time of year? Our big tip is one that might be new to you: listen in for our strategy to help you keep last-minute charges and expenses while you're busy trying to deck the halls and remember the names of all of Santa's reindeer.

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Welcome to Credit 101. Simple answers to the most common credit questions like: how can I keep my spending down during the holidays to keep my overall budget on track?

For some festive folks, it happens every year: they pledge to keep their spending in check, but come January they're under a mountain of credit card bills that financed a busy and eventful holiday season. When debt creeps up, it's all too easy (and dangerous) to fall behind in making your payments and end up with delinquent debt. According to a 2014 survey by The Urban Institute, 1 in 3 Americans is dealing with debt that's past-due. So you're right to think that it's a problem worth having a plan for.

If you've been burned in the past and are vowing to not re-make old mistakes with your spending, here are a few things you'll probably want to make sure your holiday budget includes unexpected holiday gifts.

Our 2016 holiday shopping survey from Experian showed that the most frustrating and most costly budget-buster of the holidays turns out to be unexpected gifting. You may want to consider grabbing a few extra all-purpose gifts that could come handy at the end of the season that can save you the time — and the expense of a last-minute gift purchase from limited stock available during a hectic time.

As you build your gift list, also don't forget to factor in other gifts that might not immediately spring to mind: hostess gifts for parties you'll attend, or small tokens for important service providers like your postman or new neighbors. Once you have a complete list of all the gifts you'll need to get, you can slice your spending to ensure it doesn't overrun what you've set aside.

Have more questions about credit and the holidays? Check out Experian-dot-com-slash-holiday quiz to learn more about what type of holiday spender you are, and don't miss the rest of our podcasts, available on iTunes. Thanks for listening and we'll catch you next time on another episode of Credit 101, brought to you by Experian.

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