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How to avoid credit card debt this holiday season

Credit card debt is an extremely scary topic for many Americans and for good reason. Americans have recently hit a milestone and now carry more debt than any other time in the country's history. The total debt has now exceeded $1 trillion. 

Many people accrue a lot of credit card debt during the holidays at the end of the year due to excessive shopping. Before you head out to the mall, consider these tips to avoid putting too much money on your credit cards. 

Plan a budget

Determine who you need to purchase presents for and how much you can reasonably spend on each person. Whatever you establish as your budget, do not go over it. You may need to make some difficult decisions about what you can feasibly buy, but it is better to make those decisions before you actually spend any money. 

Start early

It is good to beat the crowds when it comes to holiday shopping. However, even if you plan on doing most of your shopping online, you still want to order items well in advance. If you wait until the last minute, then you will need to spend more on shipping costs. 

Compare prices

When you find the perfect item for a loved one, you should look around. You may be able to save money on another site. You should also consider whether it would be more affordable to go to a physical store to buy an item rather than spending more money on shipping costs. 

Trim other expenses

You want to give everyone in your life a great holiday, so it may be worth it to forego certain expenses during November and December. Cut back on daily coffee or buying new clothes for yourself for the time being. 

Sell items

The holidays are also a great time to sell items on Craigslist or other online forums. You may have items of clothing or appliances you no longer need. You can help other people buy gifts for the holidays, and you put extra money in your pocket. 

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