Study: Holiday spending debts may spill over into next year

Recent data released by online payment website eBillMe indicates that 5 percent of Americans are still paying off their 2009 holiday expenses. Furthermore, only 39 percent of the website’s survey respondents say that they managed to pay off their 2009 holiday bills by March of 2010.

Such statistics may be worrying in an economy where many have unsustainable debts even aside from planned holiday spending. There are certain financial mistakes that can account for a consumer still struggling with a holiday debt well into next year, and they are fairly easy to avoid.

Paying in cash may make it easier for some consumers to get a feel of how much they’re spending on their holiday spree. When paying with a credit card, it can become easy to lose track of the volume of expenses one is making.

Once the debt is incurred, making minimum payments on the balance is an easy way to prolong the debt into next year and accrue interest on the balance. Consumers already struggling to repair a bad credit history may be advised to be especially conscious of their holiday spending to avoid plunging deeper into debt.