Even though the holidays are officially over, vestiges of the yuletide can still be seen in homes here in Florida and across the nation. For example, the Christmas tree might still be set up in the living room, the holiday lights might still be hanging from the garage and the boxes that previously held all the gifts might still be sitting in the garage.

Not all lingering signs of the holiday season are found in and around the home, however. Indeed, they can also be found in the credit card statements sitting on desks and kitchen tables, as statistics show that people once again spent more on gifts than the previous year.

In fact, statistics also show that many people perhaps were a little too caught up in the spirit of giving:

  • Roughly 51 percent of people have indicated that they failed to set a holiday budget
  • 15 percent of people have indicated that they went to the trouble of creating a holiday budget, but ultimately chose to ignore it
  • Nearly 40 percent of people have indicated that they don’t think they can pay off their holiday purchases in January

As dismaying as it can be to be left with a large credit card bill after the holidays, experts indicate that there are a few strategies that can help manage this debt:

  • If your credit card debt is spread out among several cards, concentrate on paying off the one with the highest interest rate first, as it can save money in interest charges over the long run.
  • In the event you find yourself with a windfall (bonus, tax refund, etc.), resist the temptation to spend it and instead use it to pay down your credit card debt.
  • If you believe it will take more than six months to pay down debt, consider a balance transfer, meaning transferring the sum owed on one credit card to another credit card with a lower interest rate.

While these are all viable options, it’s important for anyone struggling with unmanageable credit card debt — regardless of when it was incurred — to understand that they do have options. For instance, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide a much-needed fresh start.

To learn more about whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is right for you, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.