Debt can be "The Gift of Giving"
As shoppers begin the mad dash to fill the empty space under the Christmas Tree one out of every three families will find themselves in debt.
"They overspend, overextend, and end up in a lot of trouble," said Consumer Credit Educator Ed Williams.
Consumer experts predict a 25% increase in families needing help with their debt come January, mostly due to Christmas shopping. A debt Williams said is avoidable.
"There is such a strong emphasis on exchanging of gifts and gift buying," said Williams. "All of us have stories we can tell like our children receiving a gift and two or three days later not even playing with it, but yet the bill for that remains."
Shoppers are now beginning to move their Christmas attention from the big time retailers, to the local pawn shops.
"It's a hard time of the year for a lot of people," said Alan Goldman, owner of Arvin's. "We do a lot of pawning and buying of merchandise during the Christmas season."
Goldman said business usually picks up around the beginning of hunting season in October and lasts through Christmas.
They just need money, there kids want items," he said.
While Arvin's has something for everyone, Goldman says jewelry is the top selling item.
"You can save an ordinate amount of money (on jewelry) at a pawn shop," said Goldman.
Saving money is what the big retailers push with their door busting Black Friday sales, while banking on you to get out of control with your spending.
"The hope is that you are going to go in and buy a lot of other things in that store too," said Williams. "Confine your shopping to just the specials."
Williams says layaway programs can be helpful but you need to know what the terms of that program really is. He said in the long run it's not the gifts that people remember during the holiday season, it's the experiences.
This year, the average family is predicted to have a $750 budget for Christmas, some going as far as taking out loans to pay for it.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service has a special program called "Making Cents of the Holidays" which gives shopping and budgeting tips, as well as educating shoppers on scam alerts.
Any person, organization, or group interested can call 478-745-3333 and ask for Ed Williams.