Many Will Go Into Debt from Holiday Shopping, Survey Shows

Many Will Go Into Debt from Holiday Shopping, Survey Shows

BARBOURSVILLE — Kayla Smith had several bags of Christmas presents in her hands as she was leaving the Huntington Mall in Barboursville on Monday afternoon.

“I love holiday shopping here,” she said. “I can get most of the things on my list in one day.”

Smith says the one thing she doesn’t want to do is overspend and go into debt.

“I try to save throughout the year so I don’t have to use credit cards,” she said. “I have done that before, and it took all year to pay it off.”

Jeremy Wilson was also shopping at the mall but said he didn’t mind going into debt for something like Christmas presents for his family.

“Christmas is only once a year, so if I need to charge some stuff, then so be it,” he said. “As long as I keep working, then I will be able to pay it off.”

Wilson isn’t alone. A recent Swagbucks survey reported that 63 percent of Americans will go into debt from holiday shopping, with 25 percent of them accruing more than $500 in debt.

“Money Coach” Lynnette Khalfani-Cox says on her website AskTheMoneyCoach.com that this year alone, 66 million Americans are going to go into debt during the holiday shopping season.

“There’s a tendency to get caught up in the holiday shopping spirit,” she said. “The music, the festivities, the smells are encouraging you to spend, and retailers are pretty savvy about getting you to buy more.”

Khalfani-Cox says to avoid debt, avoid paying with a credit card.

“My No. 1 tip for avoiding debt is to pay with cash and avoid the temptation to overspend using a credit card,” she said.

A new NerdWallet survey found one in four shoppers are still paying off the debt from last Christmas, and a report by CreditCards.com showed that West Virginia has the third highest credit card debt burden of all 50 states, with an average total credit card balance of $7,563.

“Setting aside the recommended 15 percent of earnings to pay down debt, it would take 17 months to pay off this credit card burden and would cost $1,167 in interest,” the report stated.

Khalfani-Cox recommended a new resolution for the new year, which is to start saving for next year’s holiday shopping.

“Saving $50 a month could result in $600 in 12 months,” she said. “The extra funds could then be used for the 2019 holiday season.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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