Christmas may be over, but the holiday season is still among us. Many people consider the holidays to be over after New Year’s, that’s when the reality of all the indulgences over the last several weeks sets in.
In December all across the country shoppers searched malls for the perfect gift for everyone on their list and in homes all across America people sat at their computers ordering gifts for their loved ones. However now it’s time to check in with your credit card company and see the damage of the holidays.
The financial impact of travelling, shopping, cooking meals, hosting parties and decorating during the holidays can be devastating – but only if you let it. Don’t let your holiday debt hang over you for the rest of the year.
Here are four ways to help pay off your holiday credit card debt
Total up all your outstanding balances
The only true way to start paying off your holiday debt is to know exactly how much you owe. Go online and check the current outstanding balances of all your credit cards. Then you can decide how much you need to pay on each card in order to get it paid off ASAP.
Make your first credit card payment ahead of time
Don’t push your debt aside and “worry about it later”. Face reality today, right now. Log into your online banking and make a credit card payment today. The payment doesn’t have to be big, just enough to get you started. This is the first step towards accepting your debt and starting to pay it off.
Make a plan to be debt free
The reality is you spent the money and now you have to pay it back. It’s O.K. to let your credit card balance linger for a bit, after all they are there to help us buy right away the things we may not be able to afford until later. However letting your outstanding balances carry on too long can result in hefty interest charges.
I think that three months is an acceptable credit card balance pay off period. It’s long enough to spread out the expenses over several paychecks so you don’t strain your other monthly expenses and it’s short enough not to incur too many interest charges.
Stop using your credit cards temporarily
There is absolutely no point in trying to pay off your holiday credit card balances if you continue spending at the same time. Take your credit cards out of your wallet and keep them at home over the next few months until your holiday debt is paid off. Then you can get back into your normal spending routines.
If you’re not sure how the holidays affected your credit score you can find out by checking your credit score for FREE with Credit Sesame.
Think of other ways to spend the money
Once your debt is paid off you can spend the money on other things. So think about that every time you make a payment. Tell yourself that paying off holiday debt is only a temporary situation and start planning all the other fun things you can do with the money like take a vacation, save for a rainy day or buy yourself a new pair of shoes. Personal indulgences are always a good way to keep motivated to pay off your holiday debt.