With the holidays now over many people find themselves facing the problem of the debt they’ve managed to accumulate while making their gift purchases. Some people began their Christmas shopping with a budget in mind only to abandon it at the last minute. Others may have shopped blindly without having any idea how much they’d spent until the bills start arriving. Here are a few things to consider if you are facing a debt problem from the holidays:
Do You Have a Debt Problem?
No matter what your spending style this past season was, you may be among the many who now find themselves experiencing a holiday debt hangover. Fortunately, that debt does not have to loom over your head forever. By getting motivated to rid yourself of your debt and committing to take action, you can wash your hands of your holiday debt and enjoy the rest of your year. Here are some basic tips to help you focus on your debt problem:
Face the Problem Head On – What’s The Total Debt Damage?
The first step to getting rid of your debt is to know exactly how much there is so you are going to have to add it all up. Gather all of your info in one place and calculate a total. As scary as the number might be, you need to know the absolute total that you owe. Prioritize your bills. I think the snowball method is a good one because it’s simple to use and more importantly it works!
Stop The Spending Now – Don’t Let The Problem Get Larger
Knowing the exact amount of your debt is important, but stopping its growth is even more important. You’ve got to put the breaks on your spending. Until you have vanquished all of your holiday debt commit to only spending cash or using your debit card. The key here is to spend less than you make.
Make Regular Payments To Pay Down the Debt
Take a look at your finances to determine what your monthly payment should be. Once you’ve decided what that amount is, be sure to pay at least that much each month. Remember that you’re not just trying to make the minimum payment; you want to attack this debt aggressively to get it out of your life.
Search For Extra Money To Send to Your Creditors
Make some small sacrifices to enable you to make larger payments on your bills. You don’t have to give up every little luxury in your life; just pick a few ways to cut your expenses consistently and add that money to your payments. An example might be to give up raiding the vending machine at your office every afternoon. If you regularly spend $1.50 on a soda and snack, you could expect to have an extra $7.50 for your debt payment each week. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? But at the end of the month you’ll have an additional $30 to add to your payment.
Keep The Saving Going
Make it a goal to continue saving even after you’ve nixed your debt. When you’ve defeated your holiday debt, plan to keep saving your monthly payment amount for other debts you might have. Otherwise, put that money away for next year’s holiday spending. By saving for next year now you won’t be doomed to repeat the holiday debt cycle again next year.