How to Avoid Debt This Holiday Season

How to avoid debt this holiday season in Salem OR - OlsenDaines bankruptcy attorneys

The reality of holiday debt usually doesn’t sink in until you get the bills or check accounts. Too much unpaid debt can cause your credit score to drop so we are sharing some tips to follow to avoid racking up holiday debt.

Pay in Cash When Possible

Statistics show 57% of Americans with credit card debt are willing to accrue more debt during the holidays. Gifts and décor commonly cause the most holiday debt, and since consumers rarely save for this, they charge for it.

Avoid this added debt by setting a little money aside each month to pay for gifts and holiday décor in cash. Leave your credit card at home to reduce the temptation to make spontaneous purchases, and use debit cards. Several studies have shown consumers spend less with cash, and it comes with less security risk.

Create a Budget and Make Lists

Decide how much you are going to spend, including travel, and ensure it doesn’t prevent you from making necessary payments. Make a list of things you need, a list for gifts, stick by it, and cross them off as you go.

Consider having some gifts be homemade, such as mixes in a jar, which you can often make for less than buying. If you are easily influenced by others, go shopping alone to avoid going over budget.

Use Credit Wisely

If you must use a credit card, try to stay within less than 20% of the limit, and don’t max them out. Set a budget the same as you would for cash, but check the remaining balance on the cards.

Use credit cards that give rewards for purchases and apply points you have already accumulated to gifts. Don’t be tempted to take out cash advances on your credit cards, because they often have high-interest rates.

Experts in Bankruptcy Law

With some careful planning, you can avoid falling into the holiday debt trap and you will enjoy the holidays better without the stress of debt.

We hope you have a great holiday season and if you need debt relief, consider OlsenDaines. We have offices all throughout Oregon and Washington with highly experienced bankruptcy attorneys ready to help! Just give us a call today to schedule a consultation. 

Are You Responsible for Your Spouse’s Credit Card Debt?


Credit card debt tends to sneak up on you, and it can become a problem for many people. There are those that make irresponsible purchases, but overwhelming credit card debt can accumulate for other reasons. For example, if your child needs a tonsillectomy, and you don’t have health insurance or a significant amount of money in the bank, what are you going to do? Medical bills are one underlying cause of unmanageable credit card debt, but there are others. A loss of income can necessitate excessive credit card usage, and people sometimes run up credit card debts because they are trying to assist family members or friends.

The matter of credit card debt responsibility is pretty cut and dried if you are single and there are no co-signers on your account or accounts. However, what about people who are married? If your spouse cannot pay his or her credit card debt, are you liable? The answer depends on a number of different factors, including the state that you live in. Most states are common law states, and in these places, you would typically not be responsible for your spouse’s personal credit card debt as long as you are not a co-signer. However, creditors could seek to attach your spouse’s share of jointly owned property.

We practice in Oregon and Washington. Oregon is a common-law state, but Washington is one of a handful of community property states. In a community property state, generally speaking, you could be held responsible for credit card debts that your spouse incurred while you were married. Debts that were owed before the marriage would not fall into the community debt category. If a personal credit card was used to benefit both parties, it would typically be looked upon as community debt. On the other hand, if the purchase only benefited the cardholder, his or her spouse may not be liable for the debt.

If you would like to explore avenues that can lead to credit card debt relief, our firm would be more than glad to assist you. We offer free case evaluations to people in Grants Pass, Medford, Coos Bay, and a few other cities in Oregon and Washington, and you can set up an appointment right now if you give us a call at 1-800-682-9568.