Credit experts caution overspending during holiday season

Reported by: Alyx Sacks
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Updated: 12/19/2012 10:47 am

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) --The last weekend before Christmas will be the final push for holiday shoppers and Americans are expected to spend more money on gifts this year than last year.

The American Research Group, Inc. believes Americans are going to spend about $854 on family and friends this holiday season.

The 2012 projections for holiday spending is up 32-percent from last year and the highest it's been since pre-recession.

Back in 2007 American's spent $859 on average in gifts according to the American Research Group, Inc.

News 4 met with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northern Nevada Coordinator Elizabeth Estes who asks Nevadans to beware of overspending over the holidays.

Estes says impulse buys can lead to credit debt and a rough start to the new year. She seen cases where people overspend during the holidays and come the new year cannot make payments.

"We were the hardest hit in Nevada, the hardest hit state in the recession financially, unemployment wise, housing wise. It's going to take us longer to recover from that so don't be fooled by what the rest of the country is doing, because this is not the year for us yet," Estes says.

Estes recommends alternatives to large holiday lists and has some advice to avoid overspending.

First, she says to set a budget and don't budge. She warns shoppers not to fall for bargain advertising. Second, families can limit their gift giving to maybe just the kids by creating a pact with other adults in the family.

Estes says if you follow those guidelines it will help with a tight budget.

If people do find themselves in credit debt Estes does not recommend seeking out debt reduction methods like pay day loans, title loans, or debt settlement companies.

She believes those resources should be used as a last option. Instead, the public can use the Consumer Credit Counseling Services in Reno on Plumb Ln. for free. The are licensed to help any credit situation and are a nonprofit.

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