The Cure for your Holiday Debt Hangover
The celebrations have come and gone, the gifts have been opened, and now it’s time to think about how you’re going to pay off that holiday debt as quickly as possible. In a perfect world, you’d pay it all off on the next billing cycle to avoid accruing any interest. If that’s just not feasible, here are some ideas for how you can find extra money in the budget to pay it off as soon as possible.
Make a Plan — Don’t wait for your credit card statements to come in before formulating your plan of attack. Gather all your holiday receipts and add up the amount you owe so you’re not shell-shocked when the bills start to arrive.
Return Unused Items — If you purchased gifts you didn’t end up giving or have unopened party supplies or gift wrapping materials, return them to lessen the debt load. If you paid for them with cash, use the money you get back toward paying down your holiday debt. Be sure to make your returns as soon as possible, as post-holiday markdowns can affect the amount you’ll get back.
Use Gift Cards Wisely — If you received gift cards for big box stores, Amazon, or general use gift cards like Visa or American Express, use those to pay for things like gas and groceries during the month of January. Dedicate the money you would have spent on those items to paying your holiday bills.
Get a Part-time Job — Beat the post-holiday blues by staying extra-busy and get a part-time job to help pay off holiday debt. Dedicate 100% of what you make to paying off your bills and that holiday spending will be history in no time!
Sell Your Stuff — If you received new, improved versions of things you already have, sell the older versions to make some quick cash to use for paying bills. There’s a brisk secondary market for used cell phones, computers and tablets. Even if you don’t make much, it’s better than letting them sit in a drawer or turn into dust-collecting clutter.
Start Planning for Next Year — Want to avoid that holiday debt hangover next year? Start planning now! Set aside money each month in 2016 dedicated to buying gifts and paying for celebrations. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it will add up and how much more fun the holidays will be when you’re not going into debt to pay for them.
If you’re having trouble managing your holiday debt, Credit Counseling can help. It’s free and confidential.