In more ways than one, it’s easy to over do it during the holiday season. You can get wrapped up in the spirit, throw caution to the wind and before you know it you’ve polished off a plate of cookies and blown through your holiday shopping budget. Between gifts, holiday parties, and perhaps working fewer hours, it’s easy for debt to add up, especially if you were in a tight spot before the holiday season.
According a survey done last year by the credit reporting company, Experian, 31% of people have gone into debt from unexpected holiday purchases. In 2016, this year’s holiday spending was projected 10 percent more this holiday season; an average of $1,121 per shopper, according to a holiday report published by the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper,
So instead of waiting in dread for the credit card bills to come, here are the steps you can take to get ahead and start of the new year feeling good about your holiday debt.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts of what you should have done and where you should be. But this is counter productive. Your energy is a finite resource, so use it constructively. Focus on making a plan.
Make A Plan
Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” If you are committed to getting out of debt, you have to attack it with a plan. Your plan will map out the steps you’re going to take after you uncover the scope of your debt, what is the total amount you owe and what are the various balances and interest rates of each debt.
The best way to make a plan is to use the tools available to you. This calculator is will walk you through the steps necessary to making a plan for getting out of debt:
- Determining what your total debt is right now,
- Sorting it from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate,
- Determining how much extra you can pay to your highest interest debts, while still paying the minimum due on all your other debts. This is the key component to accelerating your payoff.
- Once you completely pay off the highest interest rate debt you have, the next step is taking the extra amount you’ve been paying to the highest interest rate debt and reallocating it to the next debt on the list.
Once you have a plan in place, you’ll have to be consistent in your execution of the plan by continuing to make your monthly payments on time. This can be a challenge for many of us. If you’ve tried to get out of debt in the past, but have been unsuccessful, it might be wise to try a different approach and seek professional help.
Seek Professional Help
Credit counselors have experience with debt restructuring, they understand the options available and are versed in the art of negotiation. If you’re overwhelmed, you may need the help of a debt management professional. They’ll guide you through and help you understand process.
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