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Buyer's remorse? Here's some tips for lowering spending habits

If the holiday spending habits you exhibited this year were less than stellar, you certainly aren't alone. There are some ways you can avoid this kind of holiday debt regret, though. Here are some tips to help you prevent a debt pile that keeps growing.

Remember that big spending means big losses if you can't pay back the cost of the purchases quickly. When you make a credit card purchase, you want to pay it off as fast as possible. One or two months might be fine, and even though there will be some interest, you may find that it's worth being able to split the cost of something you needed to buy. Watch out, though, because if you can't afford the payments or have a high interest rate, you'll end up in trouble. You'll owe much more with the high interest rate and risk having a collections record if you can't pay.

Another thing to remember is to make a budget and stick to it. You know how much you can afford to spend without your credit cards, and while it's tempting to spend more, you need to ask yourself if it's affordable and worth the extra expense. Value and price aren't the same; sometimes a child will be happy with a generic doll versus an expensive alternative, or a friend might be happy with a homemade gift instead of an expensive specialized piece.

The temptation to spend is strong, and if you find you are buried in debt, there are ways to help yourself. Debt-relief programs, payment plans, bankruptcies and other options may help depending on your situation.

Source: You Need a Budget, "Ways To Avoid Holiday Credit Card Debt/Regret," Lindsey Burgess, Nov. 30, 2016

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