Charges from holiday spending continue to appear on credit card statements long after the holiday season is over. As the debts continue to roll in, consumers are tasked with the need to come up with additional funds to make good on their financial obligations. Even if you consider yourself a wizard at personal finance, you might be having difficulty recovering from the holiday debts you’ve accumulated. Here are a few tips to help you get back on the right financial track quickly.
Handle Returns Promptly
It is so easy to procrastinate when it comes to making holiday returns. The idea of standing in a long, slowly moving line isn’t much of an incentive either. Nonetheless, time is a factor when it comes to returning merchandise you received as gifts. If you wait too long, you won’t be able to make the return, losing any money you could have made on the transaction. Don’t forget to return any items you purchased to give as a gift but forgot to do so.
Pay Bills Promptly
Avoiding late fees and the interest charges that accrue on overdue bills is much simpler when you pay each bill as it arrives rather than waiting for the due date. Simply make sure that you have enough money in the bank to cover your payment before scheduling it.
Pay a Little Extra on Each Bill
As you pay each bill, you should try to include more than the minimum amount due on the card balance. When you pay off more than the suggested minimum, you decrease the interest charges accruing on the account. This strategy allows you to reduce the overall balance on the account as long as you avoid adding more debt to it.
Find Additional Money to Pay Your Debts
If your hourly wage isn’t enough to allow you to get your holiday debts under control, you might need to start thinking about finding additional sources of income. Here are a few ideas that might be feasible, depending on your personal situation and resources:
- Sell unwanted stuff like DVDs, CDs, books, and jewelry
- Get a part-time job, even if it is only for a few hours a week
- Brown bag your lunch and look for a cheaper coffee place
- Car pool whenever possible
- Give up date night for a few weeks
- Dine at home instead of going out
- Go through your pockets, purses, and furniture in search of loose change
- Use coupons for your groceries and buy inexpensive brands whenever possible
Start a Holiday Savings Account for the Upcoming Year
Once you have all of your holiday debt paid off, it should be easy to start a savings account to help you handle the cost of holiday shopping at the end of the year. Even if you can only have enough spare cash to save five dollars a week, this nest egg is going to make holiday shopping more affordable during the next season.
Keeping your holiday spending in check is the best way to prevent large bills. Even if you attempt to limit your gift giving to reasonable purchases, your bills might get out of hand. If this happens, use as many strategies as you can to pay off your holiday debts as quickly as you can. Hopefully, you can pay off your bills before it is time to begin shopping for the holidays again.