It has finally arrived, the beginning of the holiday buying season. And for the most part, I am already finished with my Christmas shopping and I have managed to stay within my budget without having had to whip out my credit cards. Last year, according to the American Research Group, the average holiday gift spending was $854, which is up over 30% from the previous year. Ideally, getting through life in general, let alone the holidays, without having to use credit cards would be a wonderful thing. I strive to reserve using my credit card for travel expenses, emergency expenses, or only those expenses that can be covered within any given month. And, for the most part I have been successful. But there is a large number of persons who are not so fortunate. Did you know that . . . the average U.S. household credit card debt stands at $15,185 (wow!)? Additionally, the average mortgage debt is $147,133 and the average student loan debt is $31,509. Luckily for me, I do not have a mortgage or a student loan, and, my credit card debt is virtually nonexistent. My key to success . . . delayed gratification (generally easier said than done, but doable nonetheless).
- The U.S. Census, taken by the federal government every 10 years, tells us how many American households there are;
- The Aggregate Revolving Consumer Debt Survey, taken monthly by the Federal Reserve, tells us how much debt is outstanding, in total; and
- The Survey of Consumer Finances, taken by the Federal Reserve every 3-5 years, tells us the percentage of families with credit card debt.