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Nearly 30% of shoppers haven’t paid off last years holiday debt

Financial experts give tips on how to limit your debt
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 5:35 PM CST
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Merrill, Wis. (WSAW) - According to finance company NerdWallet, one in three shoppers still have holiday debt from last year. That’s more than 35 million Americans.

Three-quarters of people use credit cards to pay for their holiday gifts. It’s something Park City Credit Union saw first hand.

“We really do see an increase in credit card and debit card transactions from November to December year after year, so we know that people are busy shopping last minute,” said Sarah Sturm, Business Development Manager at Park City Credit Union.

The community financial education coordinator at Royal Credit Union said last-minute shopping can be a culprit of debt.

“My number one tip is to always have a plan,” said Cooper Larson, community financial education coordinator at Royal Credit Union.

Larson said having a plan could mean writing down what you’re getting for each person and how much it costs. She said to also be wary of taking out store credit cards.

“Just be mindful of opening store credit cards. They seem like a really great idea, you get a discount, but know that you’re taking on that extra debt and they could have a higher interest rate,” said Larson.

That doesn’t mean credit cards are all bad. They have a number of safety features and they can help with catching fraud.

“Try using those credit cards because oftentimes you can catch it and stop it before the transaction goes through,” said Strum.

Strum said Park City also gets the most calls about fraud over the holidays. Click here for tips on avoiding scams. For more information about limiting your holiday spending click here.

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