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Credit card debt is up close to 5% from last year, but many analysts think this actually a good sign for the economy.

On November 19, TransUnion reported that the average consumer's credit debt had grown nearly 5% from the same quarter last year, up to $4,996 per borrower. That same report also noted a small uptick in delinquent payments from quarter 3 of last year to 0.75%. On the surface, this all sounds pretty negative - more debt? More late payments? That can't be good...

...But as it turns out, the news might actually be a sign that consumer confidence is continuing to grow. (This according to economists more qualified then I to comment.) The logic is that with greater consumer confidence in the economy comes greater spending. With more spending comes more credit card purchases, and inevitably more debt and - you guessed it - an increase in late payments. So, while the stats on the surface look bad, the overall takeaway could be that the economy might be headed towards a little more semblance of what we used to consider "normal."

That being said, individuals facing such a mountain of credit debt are probably a lot less optimistic than those economists pointing out the greater good. Remember this Black Friday and Cyber Monday to budget your spending, put only the purchases you know you can pay back quickly on your credit card to avoid interest and, if you're already facing high APR on your existing balance, definitely consider transferring your debt to a balance transfer credit card with 0% interest. 

Follow these steps and you'll have a stress-free holiday season in terms of paying your bills. If only there was such an easy strategy when it came to dealing with in-laws and making travel plans this holiday...