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Relying on credit cards can lead to excessive debt

Excessive amounts of credit card debt are surely a burden for plenty of Florida residents. This is why it's important to at the very least take steps now to avoid even more debt from creeping up over the holiday season.

Just next week is Thanksgiving, which means the following day is Black Friday, a day where shoppers come out in mass to try and snag holiday deals. Some stores are also even pushing these sales earlier -- a trend that has been growing over the years.

With all of the sales between November and December, it can be rather easy to get carried away and end up starting 2013 with massive amounts of debt. However, below are some tips that can go a long ways in avoiding debt in the first place:

Don't sign up for more credit cards: Rather, if you must use a credit card for purchases, use only one card -- the one with the lowest interest rate -- and buy those items that can be paid off in the next billing cycle. If there is no way to pay it all off, create some type of a plan to be able to pay it off in the near future. Set a date of when that will be.

Budget, budget and budget: It cannot be said enough, but create a holiday shopping list plan and stick with it. This will help to avoid unexpected costs, which can really add up.

Get creative with gifts: Lastly, one surefire way to avoid credit card debt is by not making a lot of purchases. Rather, consider gift cards -- which are easy to set to specific amounts -- and homemade gifts. Also keep in mind that sharing an experience, like plans to volunteer together or go for a hike, is also a gift.

Source: The Associated Press, "5 tips to steer clear of debt in holiday shopping," Dave Carpenter, Nov. 12, 2012

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