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Start of school season means credit card debt for some

The fourth of July has come and gone and for some Rockland residents the end of summer may be too rapidly approaching. As summer winds down back-to-school preparations gear up for teachers and families alike, and soon stores will be filled to the brim with backpacks, notebooks and other educational tools. The return of kids to school and the coming fall are often signs of a time when Americans make poor financial choices that can lead to overwhelming credit card debt.

A financial writer has offered several suggestions that can help people stay on track as they wade into the expensive waters of back-to-school and the holidays. First, people should make a budget for how much they are willing to spend on new clothes, supplies and other school-related gear. A budget can keep families from spending over that which their incomes allow.

Additionally, individuals should be cognizant of how they are using their credit cards. In some cases people may find that they are building up balances on cards with high interests rates rather than first using cards with less oppressive terms. People may also consider if they could pay for goods with cash instead of credit to keep their debt from mounting.

Another way that people get in over their heads during this time of year is by acquiring additional debt to purchase immediate wants and needs. Whether through vender credit cards, high interest loans or other means, added debt can put people in tough spots that their income cannot afford to maintain. When they find themselves unable to make minimum payments on their debts, creditors can enforce their rights to payment through legal methods of collection.

Finally, individuals should avoid shopping when they are vulnerable to retailer persuasion. This can include shopping hungry or tired, or when the shopper is pressed for time. People are willing to pay more to make unpleasant shopping experiences end and can acquire more debt than they intended.

Even the most careful shoppers can find themselves struggling to pay off their credit cards when their bills begin to arrive. Credit card debt can be challenging to overcome but it does not have to control a person's life. For individuals suffering under overwhelming credit card and other debt, legal courses of action such as bankruptcy may be options for starting over on solid financial ground.

Source: wptv.com, "7 huge mistakes back-to-school shoppers make," Adam Levin, July 14, 2014

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