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Holiday spending can quickly devastate a family's finances

With the holidays fast approaching, many people might find themselves facing financial peril due to increased spending. Whether due to vacations, gift giving or family outings, many Americans are guilty of overextending their resources during the last few months of the year. If you have historically had trouble managing debt, it is crucial that you work to control your spending over the holidays.

While there is certainly life after bankruptcy, many individuals find it better to avoid the debt relief process altogether. A few tips may help people avoid mounting debt this holiday season.

Savings accounts: Whether for the holidays, vacations or large purchases, it is easier to set aside a small amount each paycheck in the months leading up to the financial event. Some banks even offer promotional "holiday" savings accounts where they encourage you to decide on a goal and then work toward that goal with a deposit each week.

Layaway: Many retailers offer a layaway programs. This is akin to a savings account for merchandise you'd eventually like to purchase. It might take some planning-ahead, but it's easier to pay off large purchases in small doses rather than all at once.

Budgeting: It might be easier said than done, but set a budget and stick to it. Many parents will decide on a spending budget for the holidays and then rocket past this limit as children see commercials for the hot, new toy. Stick to your budget.

Communication: It can be a difficult conversation to have, but children will understand if things are tight. Have a family meeting to discuss how finances during the holidays.

While not all of these suggestions might work for your current predicament, it is important to consider your financial options year-round.

Though paying attention to your spending and planning ahead can lead to a successful holiday season and the avoidance of financial peril, unfortunately, this is not always possible. Whether due to divorce, job loss or medical emergency, millions of Americans seek the fresh start offered by filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 each year. People who find that they are in this situation would likely benefit from speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer.

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