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'Tis the season for credit card debt

In the past, the focus of the holidays in many Tennessee homes was on family and togetherness. Now, the focus seems to be on who can get to the store in time to score a $100 TV and other hot deals. This year, Black Friday started on Thanksgiving Day for many stores, giving consumers more time to rack up credit card debt.

Many consumers use credit cards to splurge on gifts during the holidays. Their rationale is that they'll pay off the balance after the first of the year. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Credit cards don't usually do much to help out in times of dire financial straits. Instead, they add to the debt, especially when factoring in low payments and high interest rates.

With so many sales happening and consumers wanting to buy the best presents for their loved ones, it's easy to sink deep into debt. Plus, it seems like many people are never satisfied. They get what they want and continue to want things that are bigger and better. This materialistic attitude causes many consumers to stress about credit card bills instead of focusing on friends and family, which are the things that matter most this time of year.

Although a credit card is a good way to build credit, it's also a good way to accumulate debt. Once a person accumulates thousands of dollars in debt, it's difficult to pay off the balance. Because the minimum payment is only 2 percent of the balance, a person can stay in debt for decades, especially if the interest rate is high. Consumers should use credit cards wisely to protect their credit.

Getting out of debt is an important task to take, especially when the debt keepings piling up. Those seeking to understand various solutions to debt problems should seek out guidance or advice from a professional about debt relief. This could open up new avenues and they could take realistic and proactive tasks to better their situation while also protecting their rights and interests.

Source: Deseret News, "Sherry Young: Credit card debt can diminish the joy of the season," Sherry Young, Dec. 5, 2013

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