'Tis the season to have a holiday debt hangover
By Senior Airman Tim Beckham, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 08, 2006
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
During the holiday season many people want to buy everything their loved ones desire even if it means spending more than they budget for gifts.
"Many Americans are tricked into believing that they need to spend what they don't have in order to please others," said Kimberly Krohn, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. "Each year it seems the monsters living inside our greedy hearts can never be satisfied with what should seemingly be enough - unconditional love and support from our friends and families."
According to credit.about.com, many people justify putting all holiday purchases on a credit card because it gives them at least a month before the bill comes due. However, if they can't afford to pay cash for an item now, it is not likely they will be able to pay the credit card bill when it comes in, despite their good intentions.
"By the time you read this, there will only be one paycheck before Christmas, but the average American will go through that and potentially more by spending approximately $790 this time of year," said Ms. Krohn. "There's still hope because 24 percent of shoppers will wait until the last minute to make their holiday purchases this year. Maybe I can still reach the majority of our Team Incirlik population by calling all last-minute shoppers."
Ms. Krohn said if you just charge it, you might be paying on those presents long after they're gone.
"Considering that most people buy their gifts with a credit card, the average person will take about six months to pay off their holiday debt," she said. "But, if choosing to only pay the minimum monthly payment on a credit card with an average interest rate of 13.6 percent, it will take about 17 years to pay off this holiday season in full."
If you are experiencing financial debt, there is help.
"If your debt, holiday or otherwise, is more than 36 percent of your pretax income, you are likely in need of some financial fitness or a buying boot camp from the personal financial experts at the Airman and Family Readiness Center," said Ms. Krohn. "If you have any questions about how to get out of your current or past Christmas debt, start a path toward better spending/saving/investing habits, or anything at all related to personal finances you can call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 676-6755, for more information."