The holidays are meant to be a time of family and joy. The pressure to create memories for partners, children and extended family members leads many people to overspend on the holidays.
People might travel when they don’t have the funds to cover the costs of getting to where they want to go or taking time off of work. They might spend hundreds of dollars on catering for a meal that no one will remember in three days. Many others will go into debt on their credit cards or on store lines of credit trying to purchase presents for the people they love.
The pressure to spend around the holidays, especially during a difficult year, can set people up for a difficult New Year when all of those bills start coming due. The holidays could put you on a path of accumulating debt that you don’t have the ability to pay off in full.
Credit card debt seems to be an American holiday tradition
Most Americans spend more than they can reasonably afford to during the holidays. Beyond what they set aside and saved for the season, the average American household also accrues $1,325 in new credit card debt during the holidays.
Depending on how much of a balance they already carry on those cards and how much they can pay every month, it could take them until the next holiday season to pay those balances off. For some people, getting their credit cards back down to zero after holiday spending could prove impossible.
No one intends to get in over their head with credit cards
Overwhelming credit card debt isn’t something people knowingly incur. Most people accrue their credit card debt over many months or even multiple years.
They maintain a balance from month to month that continues to slowly creep up until they can no longer make large payments and have to make just the minimum payment on the card. Some people even get into a situation where they transfer balances to another card so that they have more money to spend or wind up going over the limit and having no available credit but lots of debt.
If you are in a situation where your credit card debt has spiraled completely out of control, the best option for you might involve bankruptcy. Successful bankruptcy proceedings could allow you to discharge unsecured credit card debt and thereby balance your budget in the future.