Tips to avoid debt this holiday season

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LITITZ, Pa. (WHTM) – Twenty-five percent of Americans will rack up holiday debt this season and most people will need more than two months to pay it off, according to a study by MagnifyMoney.

Kellie Myer, who lives in Manheim, plans to avoid holiday debt this year.

“I make a list and try to stick to it,” she said.

Myer was getting ready to go shopping with her daughter, Kelby Good. Her plan is the same advice financial planners give those looking to avoid red in their banking accounts.

“If you can set a budget and stick to it,” said Michael Helveston, the director of adviser services with Rodgers and Associates.

Helveston, a financial planner, also suggests that consumers use debit cards over credit cards because debit cards use money they already have. He said credit cards can be helpful since most offer reward programs, but they should be used wisely.

“If the credit card balances tend to grow, then you should stop using them all together,” he said.

Helveston said use cash if you can. He pointed to studies that show consumers spend smarter when paying with cash.

“There is almost no feeling involved in swiping a card because you have 30 days before you have to worry about it,” he said.

He also said folks should start making a budget for next year’s holidays as soon as these are over.