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Considering consumer bankruptcy during the holidays

As the holiday season continues, many Maryland families struggle with finances. The pressure to purchase gifts, attend celebrations and create memorable holiday feasts is enormous. When there is already financial strain in place, the end of the year can escalate the matter. Many people will give their finances a close look this holiday season and consider whether consumer bankruptcy is the best way to begin the New Year. The following tips are offered to give families the ability to make it through the season without incurring additional debt and to provide a road map for the years to come.

Gift-giving is an integral part of the holidays, and it has grown to a level that is simply unsustainable for most Americans. When planning holiday shopping, it is absolutely essential to create a budget. For most people, the best budget is one that is constructed from cash-on-hand. This is not the time to go further into debt by purchasing gifts on credit or taking out small loans to finance the holiday season.

Once a budget has been established, the next step lies in constructing a list of people for whom gifts will be bought. Each recipient can be given a dollar allotment, so that the end result is a balanced budget. This gives the gift shopper(s) the ability to focus on finding the best possible present within the given price range. Sticking to this plan may require a degree of effort and discipline, but the end result will be a holiday season that does not have a negative impact on the family's finances.

Once the tree has been taken down and the lights put away, Maryland residents should make the time to sit down and go over their current and projected financial circumstances. In some cases, paying down debt is an almost impossible task. For these individuals and families, consumer bankruptcy may be the best way to ring in the New Year, and could bring a badly needed fresh start.  

Source: whdh.com, "8 ways to plan for debt-free holiday gift shopping", Andrew Housser, Nov. 23, 2015

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