Many Americans are still struggling to pay for last holidays’ debts

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The 2018 holiday season is just around the corner and for many people that means buying lots of presents for families and loved ones. However, for those who are struggling with debt, the holidays can be an especially difficult time with the pressure to buy gifts leading to more financial worry. In fact, as USA Today reports, about a quarter of consumers are heading into the new holiday season while still carrying credit card debt they accumulated during 2017 holidays.

Holiday credit card debt

As USA Today reports, the survey from NerdWallet found that of consumers who used credit cards to pay for gifts during the last holiday season, one in four of them are still carrying some of that debt as they prepare to buy gifts for the upcoming holidays.

It also appears that more Americans are willing to go into debt this year in order to acquire gifts. The survey found that 73 percent of consumers say they will use their credit cards to buy gifts this holiday season, which is up dramatically from 58 percent last holiday season.

They also expect that debt to take longer to pay off. On average, consumers this year say they expect to take 14 weeks to pay off debt accumulated during holiday shopping. That is an increase from the 2.3 months it took for the average consumer to erase their holiday credit card debt last year.

And credit cards aren't the only type of debt consumers are getting into in order to afford a happy holiday. About a third of those surveyed said they would use layaway while 21 percent would use shopping loans. Shopping loans are a fairly new type of debt that are typically offered at checkouts. Experts warn that they can come with hidden fees and high interest rates.

Struggling with credit card debt

Clearly the holiday season can be a stressful time for those who are already drowning in credit card debt. As ABC News reports, earlier this year nationwide credit card debt topped $1 trillion for the first time on record. While some pundits see increasing debt as a sign of greater confidence in the economy, delinquency rates are also on the rise and they are expected to keep rising as the Federal Reserve seems set to continue increasing interest rates.

Talking to an attorney

Struggling with debt is never a good feeling and for many people simply making minimum payments on their bills does little to actually lower their overall debt. For those who feel like they are drowning in debt, it may be time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney for help.