The holiday season is now upon us, and Christmas sales and specials are advertised far and wide. For many California consumers, Christmas shopping can quickly lead to a compounded credit card debt problem, as new purchases are added to existing balances. While many consumers simply accept that additional debt will be accumulated during the holidays, one recent opinion piece suggests that a change is called for in the way that Americans spend during the end of the year.

An analysis of consumer credit card use suggests that shoppers are already well on their way to amassing high levels of credit card debt in 2012, even in the months preceding holiday shopping peaks. From July to September of this year, debt levels rose by 4.9 percent at the level of the individual consumer. Even more disturbing, a survey of borrowing habits revels that many borrowers are still paying off debt accumulated during the previous Christmas.

When these types of trends continue, the result can be a mountain of consumer debt that can easily surpass the borrower’s ability to pay. In such circumstances, borrowers are left with little choice but to file for personal bankruptcy. A bankruptcy can give consumers a fresh financial start, but it is important for consumers to understand the series of events that led to the need to file, in order to avoid repeating those mistakes.

While not everyone who seeks bankruptcy protection in California does so as a result of excessive shopping, Christmas spending reminds us of the importance of making sound financial decisions throughout the year. For those who find themselves in an untenable credit card debt scenario, personal bankruptcy can lead to the discharge of a majority of consumer debt. It can allow the opportunity to rebuild one’s credit and financial stability.

Source: Deseret News, “In our opinion: Christmas credit card debt a tradition we could do without,” Nov. 26, 2012