Washington, DC – The 2014 holiday season is a short five months away, yet many are financially unprepared to begin shopping. In recent years, Americans spent an average of $800 on holiday-related expenses. That’s more than a week’s wages for many workers, and in spite of the fact that the December holidays are an annual event, people routinely neglect planning for them and resort to charging their purchases.
Consider the ramifications of this lack of planning: If a shopper charges $1,000 and makes only the minimum monthly payment of 2 percent of the balance at an Annual Percentage Rate of 18 percent, it will take 12 years to pay off the debt. Think of it this way – the ghost of Christmas past will haunt until 2026. Further, this generous consumer will have paid a total of $2,353 for the $1,000 worth of goods and services purchased.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC) proposes a better plan. Since debt is a gift no one wants, the NFCC suggests five steps that consumers can put in place now in order to have money available for holiday spending and create a debt free holiday.
“If you’re still paying for holiday spending 2013, consider rethinking your gift giving for this year,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “It makes no financial sense to pile new debt on top of old. Kindness and experiences are meaningful substitutes for purchased gifts, and are remembered long after the wrapping paper and bows have been discarded.”
Find answers and solutions to your financial concerns by reaching out to an NFCC member agency American Financial Solutions 888-864-8659. Or visit www.myfinancialgoals.org.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC Members annually help millions of consumers through more than 600 community-based offices nationwide. Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on Twitter: twitter.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on YouTube: www.YouTube.com/NFCC09 and our blog: http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/.