ONLY ON SUNRISE: Getting over holiday debt

(WEAU) - The holidays are over and that means credit card bills will be piling up as we kick off the new year.

But how do you overcome the debt from holiday parties, presents and packages?

For stay at home mom Marita Peters managing a budget is a priority for her family.

"I do all of the cooking and I pack most of my kids lunches. I shop at 3 different grocery stores to get deals,” says Marita.

While Marita follows a budget year round, Mary Geissler with the Chippewa County UW Extension says it is possible to survive debt.

"Focus on your debt. Make it almost an obsession to whack it down into control. Debt isn't always bad. It’s how we manage it. We have to remember debt will grow and grow,” explains Geissler, a Family Living Educator.

Also, maintaining a proper system is key in avoiding debt.

"I write the month at the top and all of our spending each week. My husband is paid every week. At the end of the month, I try to make sure that the figures match that the income matches what we spent. It doesn't always but I do get really close,” says Peters.

Adrian Klenz with Western Dairyland says many should rethink how they celebrate the holidays.

"There's this pressure that we have to buy all these fancy gifts or these brand name things. A gift you make yourself can really go a lot further,” says Klenz.

But if you do shop, think about buying presents year round.

"We always have our kids make a list and I start shopping in October, November and into December and combine a coupon with a good sale to get the best price,” explains Peters.

Remember not to procrastinate paying off credit card bills.

“When you're talking about specially dealing with holiday debt, I encourage people to do more than the minimum payment if you can,” says Klenz.

“Families will say to me I just don't make enough money, there's nothing leftover at the end of the month and I'm in debt. What I have found is you probably do make enough money. It’s what you're doing with the money you do have,” says Geissler.

"We use that phrase don't buy what you want until you pay what you need,” says Peters.

If you or you know someone suffering from debt, you can contact the Chippewa County UW Extension or Western Dairyland to ask for help.

Plus, if you know you can't pay your credit card on time, call your credit card company.