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Take care with your credit card this holiday season

Pittsburgh residents blinked a few weeks ago, and suddenly the holidays were upon them. It happens every year, as the leaves fall and the winter blows in: People simply can't believe that the holidays are already here. With the holiday season in full swing, there's one thing many people all across Pennsylvania will be doing -- reaching for their purse or wallet to bring out their credit card.

There's nothing inherently wrong with using a credit card. It's just that the act does come with some potential risks, and the people who use these cards may either be unaware of such dangers or blissfully ignorant of them. No matter which situation applies, the credit card borrower always runs the risk of being buried under massive amounts of credit card debt.

With the holidays, there is a penchant for people to not truly have a grasp on how much they are charging to their card while gift shopping. They make a few runs to their local mall; they swipe the card a handful of times on dozens of gifts; and then the month ends, only for the person to be stunned by their credit card statement.

So, consider two things this holiday season. The first is that you should be cautious when using your card. That doesn't mean "don't use it." Obviously a credit card can be very helpful when planning your gift spending. But, be aware of how much you are charging to your card, and make a plan to pay it off in a reasonable amount of time.

The other thing to consider is that if your credit card debt does become too burdensome this holiday season, a bankruptcy filing could lead to the elimination of that debt through the debt discharging process. You'll want to discuss things with an experienced bankruptcy attorney first; but this could be a way out of a terrible credit card debt cycle.

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

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