'Cut down on your spending' - Advice for Kiwis who last year racked up $4b on credit cards pre-Christmas

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A few simple steps could help Kiwis tackle the problem of crippling post-Christmas debt, according to a financial adviser.

One man shares his tale of debt in a bid to make others aware of spending more than they can afford this Christmas.
Source: Seven Sharp

New figures show one in three New Zealanders will pay credit card interest, Seven Sharp reported.

Lisa Dudson, financial Adviser with Acumen, said that this time last year - six weeks out from Christmas - there was $4 billion spent on credit cards.

She says in mid to late January, people with credit card debt say "oh my goodness I've spent this crazy amount of money and now I've got to deal with the aftermath of it".

Ms Dudson says the first thing people have got to do is "take your head out of the sand, take some action, be proactive".

"Second thing is you need to create a plan that is realistic and has a good time frame on it.

"Third thing is that you just need to cut down on your spending."

For Hamish Kyle, the aftermath of his spending used to be devastating.

He said the worst he got to was a debt of $41,000 on credit cards when he was 39.

Mr Kyle said he bought "flash clothes" and other things out of a "sense of entitlement" and he "could grab them and have them" even though he knew the money wasn't his.

Now, with hard work and a bit of financial planning, he's in the green.

"I'm regarded as a Unicorn when it comes to my debt level. In other words my credit score is incredibly good," he said. 

Generation Y - the 20 to 30 age group - make up half of people who default on their credit cards.

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