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Holiday gift bills creeping up? Here is what you can do to manage your credit card debt better

Posted at 10:16 AM, Dec 26, 2021

(WXYZ) — We all are super excited to hand out gifts to loved ones during the holiday season, but once the festivities wrap up, the bills start to creep in.

In fact, according to a Credit Karma survey, nearly one in three Americans expect to take on debt this shopping period.

7 Action News Reporter Faraz Javed is looking into what you can do to better manage your credit card and ways to be a smart shopper.

Kherron Dorsey, a concerned holiday gift shopper, says he spent around $3000 this holiday season - while Erica Pinkney splurged $1,500. But for David Smith, he says he needs time to sit back and total all the bills.

For many others, that's the same story, especially when using a credit card.

In fact, according to a recent TopCashBack.com study, 53% of folks in the US will be relying on credit cards to buy gifts.

"50% of Americans feel pressured to spend money that they don’t have this holiday season," says Rebecca Gramuglia, Consumer Expert, TopCashBack.com

Gramuglia says, "the average spend is between $100 to $500, and that range hasn’t changed from last year. But the concept of an ideal holiday gift looks different in 2021."

"People are putting thought behind like an experience or something followed by generic gifts, so gift cards and cash and then practical gifts like toothbrushes and socks and then expensive and luxury items were at the bottom," says Gramuglia.

But even then, data shows that 43% will struggle to pay off their debt.

"After Christmas, you get a big bill, and you got to pay for it," says Dorsey.

President & CEO, Hall Financial David Hall says, "historically January is one of the most popular times for homeowners to take cash out of their equity to pay their credit card debt."

"One in three shoppers from last holiday season are still paying off that debt," says Hall.

So what does one do?

"Spend within your means," says Raymond Battle, a concerned holiday gift shopper.

Hall’s advice is to avoid maxing your credit card and, if you do, have a 90-day plan to pay it off. But above all, be a smart shopper.

"One is you want to stick to your budget. You really want to have a plan and stick to it. Two is, I don’t think you have to buy the most expensive gifts to give really nice gifts, people love the gift no matter what it is and we got to remember that, coupons are great, there are only deals everywhere," said David Hall, President & CEO, Hall Financial.

Another pro tip is to buy your gifts using cash. It will help to keep your budget in check, and if you love plastic, then use the one that has better rewards or a cashback program.