You: 1 Holiday Debt: 0
Now that the wrapping paper is cleaned up, and toys are assembled, it is time to get back to the rather mundane (but welcome, really) day-to-day routine. What comes alongside though, is repentance for holiday overspending.
As the bills begin to trickle in, take charge of your situation, and show your credit card who is boss. The key is to start today- and to have a plan.
Beyond listing your holiday spending, make sure that you have everything accounted for. Go through all of your receipts to make sure that bills match up correctly.
Also, this lets you know if all charges have been made- or if there are some pending for some reason (which happens on occasion, sometimes with online purchases) – so that you have a full grasp of how much you really owe after holiday spending.
If you are using credit, hopefully you can make all of your purchases on one card- which makes things easier to track and to whittle away at. You also are not subject to multiple interest fees.
If you do have purchases on various cards, focus on the higher interest bearing cards first. Beyond making minimum payments, attack one at a time with any additional money you have, rather than spreading bits and pieces around.
Moving forward, adopt a cash only method of payment, wherever possible. This is help you hold on to your budget, while keeping your balances from increasing.
Sell Gift Cards
Got gift cards as presents this year? Give yourself a present by selling the cards, and increasing cash flow to pay down debt.
While this perhaps is not the intention behind these gifts, they are still going to good use.
Don’t wait for the bills to grace your inbox or mailbox. Start paying now, on either a weekly or bi-weekly rotation, whichever makes more sense with your pay cycle. Start small, because if you stretch too thin, you may be forced back towards credit usage because of miscalculation of cash flow.
The idea is to introduce regularity into your debt payment.
Did you receive any sort of year-end bonus at work this year? This would be an excellent way to use it. Even if you had earmarked it for some other special purchase, you’d be far better off to eradicate your current debt than to spend more.
You can always save up and buy it later!
Plan for Next Year
While the next holiday season is several months off, there is no time like the present to start planning for the future.
Once you’ve paid down the spending from the current holiday season, start socking away some money, so that your holiday shopping will be already paid for once the time arrives.
Use the same mentality as you did to pay down the debt- little bits over time add up to a lot!