Meg Comalander is a senior at USC and finds it stressful to balance work, school and buying gifts for her family and friends. She plans to be a smarter shopper than she was last year.
Matt Nichols works at the Founders Federal Credit Union branch in Columbia. He says that a good tip to avoid overspending is to educate yourself about the credit card and contract that you have.
By Mallory Blackmon
Thanksgiving has come and gone and holiday shopping is in full effect. But the cost of gifts can add up quickly. Promotions and deals are heavily advertised around this time of year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two days devoted to shopping which make can make debt piling up on your credit card, fast and easy.
A study by the website Magnify Money found the average shopper added over $1,000 in debt during the last holiday season and more than one in four Americans say they plan to rack up debt this Christmas.
Meg Comalander is a senior at USC who, like many students, is concerned about adding holiday debt to her existing student loans. She also feels the stress of buying Christmas gifts and being a full time student.
"I maxed out my credit card last year and I don't want to do that again this year and I have not paid it off yet," said Comalander.
Matt Nichols, from Founders Federal Credit Union in Columbia, says the most important thing is to know your limits.
"Don't over extend yourself. Know how much you can afford, don't spend anything on exhorbitant gifts. Most of your family members are going to know that you are a college student and that you are not going to go buy them a one thousand dollar gift. Second thing, if you do get involved with credit cards or anything like that make sure you know the terms of the cards. Zero interest doesn't always mean zero interest, it may mean zero interest for a short period of time and then the interest rate is going to increase dramatically and you're drowning in it before you can pay it off," said Nichols.
Other tips from financial experts include making a list, creating a budget, saving throughout the year and paying off an outstanding debt before making big purchases. So, if you feel tempted to splurge this season try to refrain if you are not financially stable.