Overspending for the Holidays

When Americans say “the holidays,” they are usually referring to mid- to late-December, when the religious holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated. It’s a happy time of year for most people.

But the holidays are also a dangerous time for some. Some of us overeat (eat too much), and others of us overspend (spend too much).

Consequently (as a result), some have a lot of debt (money you owe other people).

For most people, this debt is manageable, meaning that they can make their payments. But other people get in over their heads (are in a very difficult situation with many problems that they cannot solve).

People with too much debt sometimes turn to (look for a solution in) credit counseling.

Credit counseling is education that helps people avoid getting into too much debt. For people who are already deep in debt (with a lot of debt), credit counseling can help them reach agreements with their creditors (the people they owe money to) to pay off (end; pay back) debts over time.

Credit counselors (people who give others advice and help) might help people make a budget (a plan for spending money) and to prioritize (decide what is most important) their purchases.

Often credit counselors advise (suggest) people in deep debt to cut up (destroy with a scissors) their credit cards so that they won’t be tempted (won’t have the desire to do something they shouldn’t do) to spend money that they don’t really have.

But not all credit counselors are really trying to help people. There are some who give people partial (incomplete) or incorrect information, and don’t really help them get out of debt (pay all their debts).

These organizations, which are sometimes paid for by the credit card companies, offer to consolidate their debts (put all their debts on one single credit card or account). Making a single payment is easier, but the account often has a much higher interest rate, so the person ends up paying much more money over time.

If you need credit counseling, it’s always best to find an organization that isn’t connected to a credit card company or bank. Otherwise (if you don’t), you may end up being in even MORE debt!


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