WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A credit repair expert shared some tips on how consumers can recover from holiday spending that hit a record high.
From holiday shopping to holiday travel, consumers who spoke to WPTV over the holiday season said money was tight with inflation hiking up price tags.
Now, the post-season numbers are out. According to Adobe Analytics, Americans spent a record-breaking $204.5 billion shopping online during the holidays, and inflation cost them $6.5 billion. Approximately 65% of those purchases were paid with credit cards.
"Credit card balances are rising at a rate that we haven't seen in over a decade," Paul Oster, a credit repair specialist with Better Qualified, said.
Oster said many consumers spent more money than they had this holiday season because of inflation.
"Going into the holiday season, most Americans, a very large percentage, were saying, 'Hey, you know, I'm gonna put this stuff on my credit card. I'm gonna increase my balances.' And we see that now," Oster said. "These are typically precursors to a downturn in the economy."
Oster told WPTV there are a few things consumers can do to start working toward recovering from the "holiday debt hangover."
"Unfortunately, the average person does not have a budget in place. People have to change their behavior as quickly as possible," Oster said. "We've become a nation of subscriptions. We've said it before. Cancel the Netflix, Spotify, Hulu. I'm not saying you have to live the rest of your life without these subscriptions, but where is the money going to come from."
Another tip is to try to pay off higher interest rate cards first and keep track of your credit as consumers continue to wait for an inflation cooldown.