updated 12/13/2010 11:17:19 AM ET 2010-12-13T16:17:19

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 13, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Attorney Timothy G. McFarlin of McFarlin & Geurts LLP, a full-service law firm representing businesses and consumers in California, Utah and throughout the United States, today offered the top seven holiday spending tips that can help consumers avoid the dreaded New Year's debt hangover. With national bankruptcy filings at an all-time high, consumers should be especially careful as they head to the mall.

"There's a lot to be said for the benefits of self-discipline when it comes to credit cards and the holiday season," said McFarlin. "Setting and sticking to a spending limit ensures happiness and satisfaction for the long run--instead of ringing in the New Year with jaw-dropping bills and the prospect of a long financial recovery."

By sticking to these seven principles, consumers can avoid holiday debt:

1. Save up. Spending cash instead of using credit for your holiday purchases allows you to avoid holiday debt all together. Of course this is pretty obvious, but planning for the holiday season early means setting money aside for holiday purchases. Start as early in the year as possible.

2. Set a budget before you shop. Setting a spending limit and sticking to it will keep you from overspending. Be disciplined and don't go over your budget, no matter what.

3. Make a list with a dollar figure. Santa makes a list, and so should you. It may seem like it takes the fun out of holiday shopping to boil down each person on your list to a dollar amount, but unfortunately it has to be done. People appreciate simple and meaningful over expensive and useless.

4. Don't shop for yourself. Avoid the "one for you, one for me" shopping mindset. You'll end up spending double. Save yourself for the post-holiday sales.

5. Ignore sales. More often than not, they're not really sales at all. Retailers use sales to sell more product and make more money, it's a way to get you to buy more, not spend less. Stick with the list.

6. Shop online. The Internet makes it easy to shop around. It also makes it harder to buy on impulse. Since most retailers have everything in the store on their website these days, it just makes sense to compare prices and shop online.

7. Leave your credit cards at home. If you do go to the mall, do so without your credit cards. If you must use credit for your purchases, pick one credit card and stick to your spending budget.

In essence, gifts purchased on credit end up costing more. With finance charges, something that costs only $30 could end up costing $50. Credit scores in turn fall from high balances. The more a consumer spends on credit, the lower their debt-to-available-balance ratio becomes. Paying cash is always the best option.

For more information please visit http://mcfarlinlaw.com/ or dial 888-728-0044 for a free consultation.

About McFarlin & Geurts LLP

McFarlin & Geurts LLP is a full service law firm representing businesses and consumers in California, Utah and throughout the United States. Areas of practice include both litigation and transactional matters, in federal courts as well as state courts. The firm is committed to providing clients with superior legal service with integrity and giving each client the personal attention they deserve.

McFarlin & Geurts strives to reach a positive outcome for clients' legal or transactional matters by implementing a philosophy of practical and effective representation. Placing clients' needs at the forefront of all engagements is the firm's top priority--with a goal of conserving client resources wherever possible without sacrificing quality of service. For more information or a free consultation, please call (888) 728 0044.

CONTACT:  Bock Communications
          Ty Sheppard
          (714) 206-9800
          tsheppard@bockpr.com

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