Today is one of the busiest Christmas shopping days Black Friday. Will you stay in the black or go into the red? Hi I’m Rob West. With all of the sales hoopla, it’s easy to think some deals are just too good to pass up, so out comes the plastic. Today we’ll talk with Neile Simon about staying out of credit card debt over the holidays. Neile Simon joins us again today. She’s a Certified Credit Counselor with Christian Credit Counselors, an underwriter of this program. This has not been a good year for credit card debt. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans took on an additional $100 billion in credit card debt this year, with inflation as a major contributing reason. Right now, Americans owe nearly $8. 9 trillion in credit card debt. And that’s particularly worrisome with interest rates on the rise. The average interest rate is now just under 19%. Roughly 60% of Americans with credit card debt have owed it for more than a year. That means they’re paying a lot of interest on that debt. STAYING OUT OF THE CHRISTMAS DEBT TRAP Here are some tips to avoid credit card debt this Christmas. 1. If you haven’t set up a spending plan (a budget), that is a must! And now is the time to do it! 2. Determine how much cash you have to spend on Christmas gifts, decorations, entertainment, etc. Make a list of all the people you want to purchase gifts for and determine how much you can spend on each. Then stick to that plan! 3. If you’re shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, try to use cash instead of pulling out the plastic. 4. If you shop online, use a debit card rather than a credit card. 5. Where possible, give homemade Christmas cookies or other baked treats instead of purchasing gifts 6. When you do purchase gifts, obviously take advantage of deals, but remember, it’s not a deal if you can’t afford it. 7. Remind yourself that the Christmas season will be far more enjoyable knowing that you won’t get hit with a big credit card bill in January! If you already find yourself in credit card debt, Christian Credit Counselors is ready to help. Their whole operation is based on debt management, not debt consolidation or debt settlement. When they set up a plan for someone, they’re able to pay off their credit cards up to 80% faster while still paying off their full balance. Their clients make only one monthly payment. And CCC has existing arrangements with all major credit card issuers to lower interest rates dramatically, sometimes down to 2% or 3%. So clients pay a lot less interest overall Christian Credit Counselors is a nonprofit ministry that’s guided by biblical principles. To learn more visit ChristianCreditCounselors.orgor call 800-557-1985. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● When, if ever, do index funds make sense?