Atlanta Shoppers Choose Cash Instead of Credit Cards in Stores This Season

In the classic holiday battle for our hard-earned dollars, consumers seem to have the upper hand over retailers this year.

That's because, for the first time in decades, Christmas shoppers are choosing to spend with cash rather than credit, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys. TransUnion reported an 11 percent drop in major credit card use compared to this time last year. And the rate of shoppers using credit during the Black Friday weekend was the lowest in the 27 years since an annual survey began tracking our holiday spending habits. It seems that consumers are finally catching on stores' holiday tricks.

There's a reason retailers want us to use credit, and it's not because they want our shopping experience to be more convenient. When we pay with plastic, it's easy for us to overspend because we don't have to stick to a budget. Once we've spent more than we should, chances are that we won't pay our credit card bill in full when it arrives because--unless a miracle happens--we simply won't have the money. That means that the credit card issuer - sometimes a store, other times a major company like Visa or MasterCard - can charge us interest.

You wouldn't walk into a store and offer to pay two, maybe three times the sticker price of an item, would you? But that's essentially what you're doing when you pay with credit. Fortunately, consumers are starting to get the picture. By switching to cash instead of credit, we're making it easier to spend within our means. Sure, using cash means you may have to pass up a few good sales, but the truth is, no price is worth the pain of paying interest on this year's Christmas gifts for the next decade.

Once you stop adding to debt, you can start thinking about erasing it. Ideally, this would be as simple as increasing your payments--the more you pay over the minimum, the lower your debt balance and thus your interest. But unfortunately, it's not always that simple. If you've got so much debt that you can't afford to pay the bare minimum--let alone more--bankruptcy can be the best way to get started. Find out if a bankruptcy plan can shrink your debt and put you back in control of your finances when you try a free personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.

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