Holidays are just around the corner. And now is the time shopping becomes frantic, and you might end up mindlessly spending money to get everything in order. Therefore, a holiday hangover and consumer debt is inevitable. The best way to deal with a holiday hangover is to put a payment plan in motion as quickly as possible.
Are You Suffering From a Holiday Hangover?
Use the following suggestions & tips to get back into your regular routine.
- Your credit card bills have not come in yet. However, it would be a good idea to write down what you have spent. If you kept receipts along the way pull these out and tally your holiday expenses now.
- Get your budget in order and assess your current income and expenses. Evaluate how much extra you have to use toward paying your holiday debt.
- If you are drowning in debt, consider slashing some of your monthly expenses. Don’t spend the extra money on entertainment for a while, eliminate the extra movie a week through your cable provider, bring your lunch to work and take a coffee from home instead of stopping at the local coffee shop.
- Consider a part time job to get you through your holiday hangover. It may be tough, but the extra income will make a big difference.
- There are two methods to choose from when paying off credit card debt. Decide based on your personal preferences and what best fits your unique circumstances. Here are the two methods:
- Avalanche Method – You pay off the debt with the highest interest first and then move on to the next highest.
- Snowball Method – You are tackling the smallest balance first and paying the minimum on the rest and then move to the next smallest balance.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Hangover Next Year
This year is nearly over. However, there are many ways you can start saving for holiday spending for next year.
- Open a “Holiday” Savings Account – Many banks have a “Christmas Club” account intended to help people save for the holidays. Consumers can start putting money each month into the account. The bank only allows you to withdraw money from the account on a certain date so you are not tempted to take out money prior to the holidays.
- Save for a Goal – ACCC’s Saving for a Goal financial calculator is a great tool. This can help you determine how much you will need to save on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to save a certain amount for holiday spending. That way you can start putting money aside now for holiday expenses.
- Start Shopping Early– Plan your gifts ahead of time for people, and buy them before the holiday rush.
- Holiday Budget – Creating a holiday budget now can help you stay on track until December. When budgeting, consider if you will be hosting a party, how many gifts you will be buying, or how many parties you usually attend. ACCC provides both a holiday budget worksheet and a holiday shopping checklist.
- Credit Card Points – If you use a credit card with reward points throughout the year, keep track of your points and use them for gifts or gift cards during the holidays.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session today.