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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Does holiday shopping justify going into debt? How to avoid it this season

Whether it's online or in-store, experts say credit cards are the best way to do holiday shopping but to be careful that you don't pile on the debt.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

TOLEDO, Ohio — With the holidays fast approaching, many of us have already started to do our shopping.

Whether it's online or in-store, experts say credit cards are the best way to do holiday shopping but to be careful that you don't pile on the debt.

Ted Rossman is an industry analyst with creditcards.com.

He says the best starting point to avoid debt is to be organized. Make a list, budget your money, and try to pay your cards off in full.

"Credit cards work best when you can pay them off in full and avoid interest because then those rewards are working for you," said Rossman. "There are benefits like fraud protection, extended warranties, purchase protection if something gets broken or stolen." 

Rossman says if you have debt, avoid adding too much to what is already there. 

There are good advantages to credit cards, he says but the biggest drawback is the interest rate.