In a recent post we offered tips to reduce credit card debt during the holiday shopping season. Still, there will be many people in Lane County who using plastic to purchase all of the gifts, goodies and gadgets on their list, confident that they will have enough money in the coming months to pay the balance down. Statistics show that consumers in Oregon and the rest of the nation are spending more for the first time in a long while.

Consumers appear to be spending with confidence. Revolving credit—of which credit card debt is a large portion of—increased by more than $4 billion during October 2013 according to the Federal Reserve. The government shutdown that left thousands of federal employees without income for two weeks during that month could be partially responsible for the large increase, but non-revolving debt is also on the rise. This type of debt includes student loans and automobile loans, and grew by $13.85 billion during October. These numbers indicate consumers are recovering from the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008 and are more comfortable with their financial situations. They are no longer spending as cautiously as they have been in recent months.

But what happens if a person’s financial situation changes unexpectedly? The credit card debt, car payments and mortgages can quickly become overwhelming. Those who find themselves struggling to make minimum payments—now or in the future—may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about different ways to make the debt more manageable.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Credit-Card Debt Hits Three-Year High,” Eric Morath, Dec. 6, 2013.