The year has flown by. In a little more than two weeks, the 2018 holiday season will unofficially kick off on Black Friday. For many Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is a yearly reminder to open their wallets — but those who are tempted to splurge may want to think again.

With holiday spending, we’re often not quite sure where the money goes. Those little purchases add up, and the collective spending racks up fast. The truth is, many people will spend years paying it off.

Shocking Statistics About Holiday Spending

If you’ve overspent during the holidays, you’re not alone.
—Consumers who responded to MagnifyMoney’s 2016 holiday debt survey said they accumulated $1,003 worth of new debt during the season.
—Half of those surveyed did not think they could pay off the debt within three months.

Keep in mind, what happens during the holidays is reflective of a deeper trend. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, consumer debt is at a record-high of $808 billion.

Holiday Budgeting Tips

—Make—and stick—to a budget. I know making a budget is hardly the most enjoyable part of the holidays, but to truly make the season special for your loved ones, it’s important to set firm spending limits. Try getting the whole family involved. Decide to limit how much you’ll spend on each other, so you have a baseline budget to work with.
—Account for everything. Making a list of everything you need to buy is a good starting point, but remember that holiday spending includes more than just the presents themselves. There’s decorating, wrapping paper, round-trip travel, food and more. Accounting for these expenses upfront will leave you prepared.
—Don’t forget to track. Remember how I said those little purchases add up? During this season, every dollar counts. Try using a mobile budget app so that the extra roll of wrapping paper, or the extra string of lights, don’t set you back. (By the way, budgeting apps are a good idea for the rest of the year, too.)

Consider Bankruptcy

I’ve said it before, but having any kind of debt is a good sign that you’re spending well above your means, and putting a band-aid over the problem won’t help.

You can stop the problem before it gets worse. In our country, bankruptcy is a way to have your debts forgiven. It offers a fresh financial start.

You’ve got some options. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow you to get rid of dischargeable debt, like credit card and medical debt. A Chapter 13 will consolidate mortgages and car payments into an affordable amount. Our lawyers are known for our compassion and results, and we are happy to walk you through it all, even if you’re unsure about bankruptcy.

Call (901) 327-2100 or contact us online to talk to a Memphis bankruptcy attorney today.

P.S. One last thought about the holidays: I know from personal experience, as a husband and father, that the best gifts don’t come in boxes. There’s nothing like the gift of the precious moments we share with our loved ones. So my last tip for you is to think outside the box with your presents — and to focus on what truly counts.