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As the holidays approach, keep a leash on spending and pay down those credit cards

Expert advice on how to avoid January hangover
Posted at 7:14 PM, Dec 08, 2016

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- If you’re already fearing your January credit card bill, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans say they tend to overspend over the Holidays.

“I try my best, but I always overspend,” said Mateo Gutierrez. “You give me $25, I’ll spend $26.”

Experts say if you already carry high balances on your cards, one of the worst things you can do is overspend this holiday season.

So, we reached out to 1stBank for a little expert advice on ways to budget and avoid those hefty credit card bills after the season of giving.

"If I had advice on what I should do better, then I probably would listen," said shopper Janeth Mancha.

Well then, listen up, Janeth.

1stBank’s chief operating officer Jim Reuter says you can start by making a budget this holiday season and sticking to it.

“Make a list,” Reuter said. “And once you finish the list, you’re done.”

Next, Reuter says, if you have multiple cards, pay off the card with the highest interest rate and/or consolidate.

"Consolidating those cards so that you're working off of one credit card bill vs. trying to manage two or three," Reuter said.

Also, go beyond the minimum.

"Clearly, if you're just making the minimum payment - it's going to take quite a while to pay off that card," Reuter said. “You should also try to pay more than once a month. Many folks get paid once a week or maybe twice a month. So, line up a payment."

And finally – transfer balances on high interest cards. Reuter says many banks allow you to transfer balances to cards with low balances. And, in those instances – banks offer low interest rates or zero interest for a period of time.

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