We always advise consumers to stick to their budgets, especially this time of year. However, if you went over your budget this holiday season, you might have accumulated some credit card debt. You should tackle this as soon as possible to avoid accumulating too much interest. ACCC has tips on how to pay down holiday debt.
Cut back on spending after the holidays.
First things first, after the holidays are over, cut back on your spending. Don’t spend money on anything unnecessary. This includes takeout, shopping, and other entertainment expenses. Take a month or so to cut spending and use the money that would have gone towards those expenses to pay down holiday debt.
Temporarily stop using your credit cards.
In order to pay down holiday debt, you need to stop accumulating more debt. That means no more using credit cards for the time being. Hold off on making any purchases with your credit cards until you’ve paid down all your holiday debt. Not only does accumulating more debt make it harder to pay off later (especially as interest adds up), but having a high credit card utilization rate can hurt your credit score. Ideally, you should keep your credit utilization rate under 30 percent if possible.
Start saving for the next holiday season.
The most important thing to do is to learn from your financial mistakes. To avoid holiday debt next year, start saving money now. Putting away even $50 a month for the holiday season means you’ll have $600 come December next year!
Use tax returns or bonuses to pay down holiday debt.
When you get your tax refund or if you have any bonuses, use that extra money to pay down your debt. Additionally, if you have any extra income from a side hustle, put money from that towards you credit card payments.
If you are struggling to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Call 800-769-3571 today to speak to a certified credit counselor.