Tips for avoiding post-holiday debt

Tips for avoiding post-holiday debt However, while many are now more cautious about how they deal with their money, there are ways to further ensure the debt a family may compile this holiday season doesn't become unmanageable, according to a report from Bankrate.

The best way for consumers to avoid overspending and ending up with more credit card debt than they intended is to simply set a budget to follow before beginning a shopping trip, the report said. By keeping in mind a certain limit, and by planning the entire shopping duties for the season, consumers can save considerably more than they would have if they just went out without a course of action in mind.

Another way to avoid too much credit card debt after the holidays is to hold a family meeting to discuss shopping plans and air concerns over the budget being set, the report added. If everyone understands the issue, then they will be more likely to handle their shopping duties in a responsible fashion.

In addition, consumers should avoid activities that are geared toward spending money during the holiday season, the report said. For example, even an innocent trip to the mall to pick up one or two things can quickly turn into an unplanned big-budget shopping spree. However, if the shopping center is unavoidable, consumers may find a benefit from leaving their plastic at home so they don't accumulate more credit card debt than they planned for.

Another trap many consumers fall into during the holidays is related to sales and clearances, the report said. Most retailers will offer popular items at slight discounts in an attempt to get people to purchase them, and come into the store. However, this often results in people buying things they wouldn't have normally purchased, which can lead to more debt than expected.

In recent months, many consumers have made a concerted effort to reduce their reliance on credit cards for everyday purchases, and also increased the amount they pay into their existing balance. However, this can be difficult during the holidays as there is more pressure to make large gift purchases they otherwise may not be able to afford.