Holiday debt - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Holiday debt

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WSVN -- Evelyn Garcia is a single mom with four kids. She knows first-hand about getting into debt.

Evelyn Garcia, Getting Out of Debt: "Once you are caught up with three or four months owing money to the credit cards, that's it, you're done."

Add holiday spending to that and it's hard to dig out.

Evelyn Garcia: "You don't have money, you don't have savings and yes, you have your four kids looking at you."

Experts say personal debt is often at its highest at the beginning of the year.

Elizabeth Karwowski, Credit Expert: "It becomes overwhelming when you have so many bills coming through the mail, you don't know what to do."

The first step is to figure out exactly what you owe.

Elizabeth Karwowski: "Go to annual credit report if you haven't done so and pull your report. Everything is on one report so you can see exactly what's going on."

Then put those credit cards on hold.

Lourdes Izquierdo, Getting Out of Debt: "That credit card that I have- I'm doing my best not to use it unless I absolutely have to, to keep the balance low and my credit score high."

The experts say don't be shy about asking your creditors to lower your interest rates. That will put you on the fast track to paying down your debt.

Then, cut out all the extras- like that morning latte run. Think about it. At $3 a pop, you could be spending $60 a month for a caffeine fix. That's money you could use to pay down your debt.

Elizabeth Karwowski: " There's a lot of ways of saving money and applying it to your debt so at the end of the day you can be debt free."

Evelyn Garcia: "You learn the hard way but you do. And I try to teach my kids to do the same thing."

If you would like to know more about ways to get out of debt-- or if you have story ideas for Money Monday, email us at

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