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Americans Take on Nearly $1,000 in Credit Card Debt After the Holidays

Credit CardsWith the 2018 holiday season behind us, many people are now trying to pay off that debt months after the tree has been taken down. Let’s look at how much credit card debt the average person racked up during the holiday season.

Amongst Consumers That Took on Credit Card Debt, Average Amount Was $998

LendEDU asked 1,000 Americans who took on credit card debt from their holiday spending some questions about their level of debt and what it will take to pay it off.

On average, those surveyed increased their credit card debt by $998.36 and are expecting it to take 10.28 months until that debt is paid off. The increased debt load was expected by the majority of those surveyed, with 70.90 percent saying they anticipated their credit card debt was going to go up because of the holidays.

Some of that debt wasn’t put on general credit cards, but rather on store-branded cards. More than half, 52.60 percent, placed some of that debt on a store-branded credit card. This type of credit card generally carries higher interest rates than general credit cards, although, at times, you may have deferred interest offers.

Not Surprisingly, Credit Card Debt-Induced Stress Common After the Holidays

With greater debt usually comes more stress, and 56.80 percent of the survey respondents said their higher debt load was causing them stress. Another 37.60 percent said they weren’t feeling stress from the increased credit card debt, while 5.60 percent said they weren’t sure.

Sometimes after the glow of the holidays has faded, some people regret spending as much as they did. Out of those surveyed, 42.30 percent said they regretted getting into more credit card debt because of their holiday spending. But a higher percent, at 49.80 percent, said they didn’t regret the extra debt, while another 7.90 percent said they weren’t sure if they regretted it or not.

More Than One-Fifth Intend to Restructure or Refinance That Debt

The majority of those who were surveyed, 59 percent, have no plans to refinance their credit card debt by taking advantage of a balance transfer offer, using a personal loan, or employing any other credit product. A much smaller percentage, 21.50 percent, were planning to refinance their credit card debt using one of those methods or another credit product. Another 19.50 percent weren’t sure if they were going to refinance their debt.

If you are still trying to recover from your holiday spending and you have more credit card debt than you’re comfortable with, here are some ways you can whittle away that balance.

  • Snag a lower interest rate: You can do this in one of two ways – through a balance transfer to another card, which will result in an introductory APR that may last up to a year, or by calling your existing credit card company. While calling your current credit card company won’t necessarily guarantee a better APR, it may result in a small reduction which could save you a fair amount of money as you pay off the balance.
  • Stop using your card: It’s time to stop the bleeding. Avoid using your credit card for any new purchases as you work to pay down that balance.
  • Shop around on your other expenses: Now might be a good time to get quotes on switching insurance companies, cable providers, or cell phone and internet carriers. You can use your savings to pay off your credit card balance faster.

Credit card debt can feel overwhelming, but if you’re motivated to pay it off, you’ll succeed in the long run. And in the meantime, be watchful of your spending and consider putting any cash windfalls you receive toward your balance.

Learn some helpful tips on how to pay off those pesky cards quicker. 

 

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