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Debt trap for many buyers during the holiday season

Black Friday.

On the day this blog is posting, it is certainly noteworthy to observe what much of the day is about for millions of consumers across the country, including in Florida.

Spending. Lots of spending.

In response to the question, "How much?," retail projections estimate that the "average" American shopper will spend close to $750 over the holidays this year, which equates to a staggering cumulative amount of $586 billion.

A figure like that ripples most materially across the country. In fact, and based on better-than-expected sales in stores so far this holiday season, the stock market surged today.

There is of course a downside in that, as noted by many money counselors, namely this: Many people can't curb their urge and spend themselves right to the brink of, or even into, bankruptcy. Others who are already seeking debt relief can easily work their way right back into financial difficulties by giving in to alleged "bargains" and easy-buying schemes.

Forgo that urge, counsel the experts, who point to the pitfalls of potential debt traps that are especially prevalent this time of year and also to the extra discipline that many consumers need to muster up to get through the season unscathed.

Although a little unfettered spending obviously doesn't drive most consumers to the edge, a surprisingly high number of people do get into serious financial difficulties when they aren't paying close attention to things like special card offers or requirements that they open a new line of credit to get in on touted "deals."

Succumbing too easily to offers like those can lead to considerable regret and very real hardship after the spending splurge is over.

Have a plan, say the experts, and don't give in to instant gratification that is attached to a time-to-pay-the-price moment later.

Source: CBS Money Watch, "5 tips to steer clear of debt in holiday shopping," Dave Carpenter, Nov. 14, 2012

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