The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and with Christmas right around the corner, you might be scrambling to purchase those last minute gifts. This is the season of giving, and there are few things more enjoyable than seeing smiling faces on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, though, those smiles might be a distant memory when the bills start pouring in your mailbox in January.
So, how can you shop smart and avoid bankruptcy in the new year?
How to Avoid Bankruptcy from Holiday Shopping
The most important step in ensuring you won’t be in serious financial trouble in the new year due to overspending on holiday gifts is also one of the most challenging for many people: Be careful with credit cards.
This holiday season, don’t max out your credit; avoid bankruptcy with smart shopping techniques.
It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays when you’re paying with plastic instead of physical cash. It can be extremely difficult to fully grasp exactly how much you are spending. To avoid going into shock when your January credit card statements arrive, I recommend that you pay for holiday gifts with cash. For online shopping, opt for a prepaid debit card instead of a credit card. If you do use credit cards this holiday season, there are a few key things to remember.
During this season of giving, unfortunately, a lot of retailers see an opportunity to prey on consumers. Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. Remember that deferred payments still need to be paid eventually, and there is no such thing as “free” in most instances. It is almost guaranteed that you will pay for the “free” special somewhere.
Take, for instance, offers for free additions to products sold in infomercials. If you read the fine print, you will be charged separate processing and handling for the so-called “free” item. In many instances, these fees are equal to than the cost of buying a second item. Don’t fall victim to these gimmicks and open up a shocking credit card statement.
Many retailers also extend store credit during the holiday season to those with subpar credit ratings. Applying may be tempting, but read the fine print, and shop smart. These retailers often sell items for considerably more than their retail value, especially the hottest gifts of the season like video game consoles and televisions. The payments are typically quite high, and these accounts can be very difficult to pay off.
Know Your Limits
And that doesn’t mean your credit card limits. If your holiday shopping plan involves maxing out every credit card in your wallet, you may want to reconsider. Before you charge things, make sure you can afford the payments. It sounds simple, but it can be easy to forget when you’re caught up in the moment of buying the perfect gift.
I recommend setting up a strict holiday budget and sticking to it, even when you’re paying with a credit card. Ideally, you don’t want to charge more than you can afford to pay off right away to avoid interest charges, but if you do plan on making payments, make sure you can afford them. If you have multiple accounts, even small payments can add up and quickly become unmanageable, leading to a very unpleasant financial situation.
When It’s Too Late to Avoid Bankruptcy
If you’d made the mistake of putting off important payments, like your mortgage or car payments, to pay for gifts this holiday season, or if you’re drowning in thousands of dollars of debt from past seasons, you aren’t alone. If you are facing bankruptcy, I am here to help. I also provide services to those who are on the edge and still trying desperately seeking a way to avoid bankruptcy.
Don’t let financial woes get you down during this festive time of year. If you are in need of a bankruptcy attorney in Denver, don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Eric L. Nesbitt, P.C.. My staff and I will be more than happy to assist you.
From our office to your home, my staff and I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!