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Local Expert Offers Tips For Handling Post-Holiday Spending Shock

(Photo illustration by Mike Dougherty)

(Photo illustration by Mike Dougherty)

(Photo by Ed Fischer) Lynne Adkins
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By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a great holiday and you were far too generous.  Now the bills are on their way and you have to figure out how to pay for it all.

Bob Lavenberg, a CPA and partner in the Philadelphia office of BDO USA, says don’t ignore those credit card bills when they start coming in.

“You want to focus on the cards that are charging the highest interest rate,” he advises, “and try to pay more than the minimum balance.  And pay that card off as quickly as possible.  And then move on, if you have more than one card, to the next higher rate (card).”

Lavenberg says you can also look for a card with a lower interest rate and transfer the balance from your high-interest card.  And even though the minimum will be lower on the new card, he suggests, continue paying the original, higher amount, to pay off the debt more quickly.

If you need to return items, he says, try to use your credit card, thereby lowering your balance.  Or check to see if the card offers cash back, which may help reduce the hit when the bill comes due.