Breaking the holiday spending blues

Everyone wants to be generous during the holiday season. But more times than not, we end up putting ourselves in debt to make that happen.

Posted: Jan. 8, 2019 6:45 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Everyone wants to be generous during the holiday season. But more times than not, we end up putting ourselves in debt to make that happen.

Many people in the Wabash Valley are staring at their bank accounts scratching their heads now that the holidays are over. People are asking themselves, 'How on earth did I spend so much?' and 'How can I get back on track?'

News 10 spoke with Kris Comar, a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. He says after the first of the year, he has many clients coming to him with this very problem.

Comar says when it comes to tackling debt you've racked up during the holidays, start by taking a look at your budget. He says it's important to see where you can “trim the fat” until you're better-off financially.

Comar explains, "Just be honest about where you're spending and what you can cut back on. So whether that's debt. Look at ways you can consolidate debt, and pay that off. Or, maybe decrease in the short-term some other spending to help put toward debt. Or, to decrease some of your spending so you can put back an emergency savings.”

One recent study found almost half of all Americans go into credit card debt during or immediately after the holidays to cover expenses. That study also found that out of those who land in debt, roughly a third did so to cover holiday-related travel. A fifth went into debt because they spent too much on entertaining. Also, almost 80 percent rack up the debt to buy gifts.

News 10 spoke with one Wabash Valley mom who falls into the last category. Kelly Frost is a mother of three kids, and has a heart to give. She says during the holiday season, she can't help but be generous.
Frost explains, "I donated a lot of toys and stuff to families and charities and just friends that I know, co-workers, and then I bought a lot of new stuff because you know, babies are growing."

Many face stress after the holidays after spending so much. Now is when many people work to get their finances back on track. Frost says she budgeted for the holidays, and still managed to overspend by roughly $1000 dollars. She says she has her own method of recovering.

Frost shares, "I had to put a couple of bills on hold, but bills are like always going to come your way."

This year's holiday spending is already in the rearview mirror, but Comar says the best thing you can do for the next holiday season is to start planning now.

He explains, "I think the people that we love, our friends and family, they love to get things from us. But at the same time it's really nice when we can plan to give those things, whether it's a last minute borrow, whether it's on a credit card, to put yourself in more debt. So absolutely, if you can start saving now, that's the best thing you can be doing."

But for Frost, she says overspending at the holidays is completely worth it.

She shares, "As far as the real value of Christmas and giving, there's no true value. So I feel, there's never too much to give, and even though my bank account is crying right now, I'd still be willing to help the next person in need."

Comar says when it comes to holiday spending, having a budget is great idea. However, it'll only work if you stick to it.

If you’d like to reach out to Kris Comar at Edward Jones to get professional financial advisor assistance, you can call 812-242-9619. 

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