BINGHAMTON, NY - A recent study found Americans to have the highest credit-card debt in U.S. history, hitting a total of $1 trillion.
Mandy DeHate, Assistant Vice President of Marketing for Visions Federal Credit Union, is sharing tips on how not to get in over your head this holiday season.
"Make a budget, and make a plan."
Whether already in debt, or planning to open a new card, DeHate says you need to look at the fine print. Paying attention to interest rates, late charges, and balance transfer fees could save you in the long run.
"Any international fees that might occur as you're spending, and also what the standard fee will be. You really need to look at the long term effects of the card, and how that's going to impact you and your everyday spending, and what you can afford to pay off at the end of the month."
A study by Business Insider said American households are roughly $16,000 in debt, and millennials are most susceptible.
Jessica Lliguicota, a Binghamton University senior, is $500 in debt so far this year, and has yet to finish her holiday shopping.
"I have multiple credit cards. I have actually 2 or 3. The third one I believe I cut and just threw it out on purpose. I spend usually that amount every year just because of long distance family, I haven't seen them in a while so I believe they deserve something to give."
DeHate says a plan to get out of debt is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
She suggests taking advantage of services like debt counseling at your local bank or credit union if you're feeling overwhelmed with debt.
"Take a deep breath. Look at your financial picture. It's a simple calculation of money calculation of money coming in vs. money going out. Everything can be solved, it might just take some time."