While the holiday season has certainly become a season of giving, at what point should people opt for saving money instead of buying gifts? That is a question that only each individual can answer for him- or herself. It is worth noting, however, that a poll of parents found that more than half of them were planning on going into debt just to buy presents for their children. It is highly likely that there are parents in Salem who are waking up to substantial credit card debt now that Christmas is over.

In a separate survey, 33 percent of people said that they would spend nothing this holiday season because of their already existing credit card debt and other financial restrictions. Although the poll was on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s website and, thus, may be slightly skewed, this poll shows that there are many people across the country who are struggling with credit card debt.

Many financial professionals will say that, if possible, it is important to pay more than the minimum payment for a credit card. Only paying the minimum will incur costs, interest and will take years to pay off a balance. Trying to pay at least double the minimum payment is the best way to start tackling credit card debt.

Unfortunately, there are many people for whom it just isn’t possible to pay off debt. The amount of money they owe, in relation to their income, leaves them with very few options, but before they choose, it is important to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer. Knowing all your options, whether that is paying off a balance, negotiating with creditors, filing for bankruptcy or something completely different, is a vital step in making sound financial decisions.

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, “Debt hangover follows holiday fun,” Tom Tobin, Dec. 24, 2013