3 ways to deal with your holiday debt before it gets out of control

by: Christine DiGangi

I was at the gym the other night when I overheard a man talking about how much he spent on Christmas gifts this year. I learned a lot about the guy: He loves to shower his mom with gifts, he bought an engagement ring he no longer plans on using, and he’s got a lot of credit card debt to pay off. It’s amazing the things people talk about within earshot of strangers.

While he was certainly aware of the thousands of dollars he had to pay in credit card bills, he didn’t seem too troubled by it. It sounded like he planned to finance the holiday purchases all along, but I wonder how much thought went into that strategy, given how long it can take to pay down credit card debt. If you have high credit card balances after the last several weeks of shopping, you might want to plug your information into this credit card payoff calculator and see how much you need to put toward those bills each month to get debt free within a few months, or whatever your debt-payoff timeline may be.

Of course, as I listened to this guy talk about the $1,500 he spent on his mom, I couldn’t help but think of questions I wanted to ask him about his plan for tackling that debt and the tips I would share with him, based on his responses. Because it’s generally considered strange and rude to join strangers’ conversations about personal finances, I’ll settle for writing this blog post.

If you’re the guy who walked into the Michigan Avenue Gucci store and bought a pricey bag to prove a point to the seemingly snooty staff, this one’s for you.

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