More Atlanta Shoppers Buy Generic, Discounted and Gently Used This Holiday Season

Some Americans are making two trips to the thrift store this season - one to donate, and another to do some holiday shopping.

It's just one example of how consumers have changed since the Great Recession. According to the Associated Press, middle-class Americans have become more comfortable shopping in thrift and consignment stores, using layaway instead of credit and buying generic brands instead of name brands. And it's helping us pay down debt, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.

Faced with overwhelming debts, we tend to make one of two choices. One, we ignore the situation, either because we're in denial or we feel helpless. Or two, we start chipping away at the problem. By changing our behavior to favor more frugal choices, many of us are choosing the latter.

Sure, saving 50 percent on cranberry sauce by going with the store brand isn't going to help erase $10,000 in debt tomorrow. But it's a start. Instead of beating yourself up because you're still spending money, why not look at the progress you can make? If you swap out a good portion of your necessities for cheaper options - for instance, generic brand prescriptions, store brand cereal and gently-used or discounted clothing - you may save so much money that you don't need to use a credit card, which will keep your debt burden from growing.

Meanwhile, you can apply the savings to your credit card bills. Since paying down more of your balance means you'll owe less interest, your debt will shrink faster - and smaller bills means more money left over for other obligations, like the mortgage. If you've been putting off dealing with debt because you think you can't do it alone, help is available. Not only is bankruptcy one of the most effective ways to get a handle on debt, but it's the only method that's also a guaranteed right in the U.S. Constitution.

Learn more about bankruptcy when you try a free personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Imagine being able to worry less about money and more about what really matters - gifts for friends and family, a holiday meal with loved ones and, in six weeks, a New Year with a lot less financial stress. The holidays don't get better than that.

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