Yes, that’s a cat. In a gift bag.

Cute, no?

That’s exactly why it’s so hard to resist going overboard with gift-giving.

But if you’re hoping to buy a house for the first, second or any time –in 2017, try to keep a lid on credit card debt.

A new report from Merrill Lynch found that for 60% of consumers, credit card debt is a barrier to saving for their houses and for retirement. That’s especially insidious for women, who tend to have more career interruptions and to be paid less, leaving them with fewer resources to stretch over a longer lifespan.

Credit cards are catnip during the holidays.

But try hard to keep ‘em in your bag. Your future house thanks you.