Christmas Credit Crunch

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Throughout the Christmas season there's a big push to get you to spend your money.

But what happens when you spend more than you have?

Thousands here in East Tennessee will head out to finish up their Christmas shopping over the next few days, and many will overspend simply because they feel the need to just get it done.

But putting purchases on those credit cards could cause stress after the holidays.

Time is running out to get those gifts before you head out for the crowded mall.

"Take a deep breath, slowly maybe count to five," says Susie Stiles Wilson from Peninsula Hospital.

And get a game plan for attacking your last minute Christmas shopping.

"Really look at those things that you're buying. If you need to buy something on credit, then that's fine if you know you can pay it off," says Katy Jett, from UT Federal Credit Union.

Shannon Poole puts herself on a budget so she doesn't overspend. "I don't want to get into a mess with credit cards."

But several shoppers find themselves in trouble after the Holidays and too deep in credit card payments.

"If you can't make your payments, it's going to affect your credit history, which will stay with you for your life," says Jett.

So to avoid getting weighed down with credit card bills, your best bet is to use cash, checks or savings, and it's never too early to be thinking of next Christmas.

"Go ahead and start planning and saving for next Christmas and putting a little away at a time," Jett says.

But for Shannon, she still has this year's bills on her mind. "I usually wait until the last minute. I'll probably be at the mall Saturday or Sunday."

If you find yourself having trouble making your payments, Katy Jett says to call your credit card company to work something out.