Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and debt-free holiday season! For those that may have splurged over the holiday season and used that handy-dandy credit card to pay for some of the holiday meals and presents, it can be quite stressful after the holidays are over when you get that credit card bill.
Here are some tips to help you recover from the Debtmas:
- Assess your overall financial situation. Make a list of your debts, payment due dates, minimum payment amounts, interest rates, and the timeframe in which you would like to pay down the debt. Consider your monthly budget and short and long-term financial goals.
- Select a payment strategy that works for you. Consider paying down the highest interest rates first. Pay more than the minimum payments, if you can, but make sure that you always pay on time. If you feel stressed about this, consider reaching out to a Financial Advisor at your bank for assistance.
- Cut back on the spending. Relook at that budget and see if you can cut down on some unnecessary expenses to help pay down your debt. That daily morning coffee can add up in the long run!
- Take full advantage of extra income. The money you're not necessarily used to getting - holiday bonuses and tax returns for example - would be wisely spent on paying down some of the debt.
- Start proactively saving for next year's holiday shopping. Set aside a dedicated amount each month to put towards holiday gifts next year and avoid the dread of Debtmas.
- Keep a shopping list. If you have a list of people you know you need to buy for and ideas of what to purchase, keep a list. If you buy over the year instead of waiting to purchase all in December, it can help reduce the amount you have to spend next year. Not only that, but you may be able to get gifts at great prices if you watch out for sales!
- Evaluate your credit cards. Consider eliminating credit cards with annual fees and incorporating more rewards cards into your wallet. If you pay one down that you is not very useful to you, close down that account and look into a rewards card that will get you something useful.
- Check your credit score. It is great to know where you stand with your credit score and see how you may be able to improve it. During times of high activity on your credit card (especially if you do online shopping), it is important to make sure that your credit report is accurate. If it is not, disputing these claims now will make it easier for you later (like if you plan to renew, refinance, or get a mortgage).
If you want to be connected with a Financial Advisor, we would be happy to provide you with a list of our preferred Financial Advisors.