We’re about to cross the finish line of the holiday season, which can be bittersweet. On one hand, the holidays can be fun and heartwarming, but on the other hand, there is usually a bit of debt that goes along with the season. If you’re stressed out over how you’re going to decrease debt, then there are quite a few things that can help out. These ten tips will allow you to quickly find solutions to your holiday debt, so you can move into enjoying the New Year instead of stressing out over it.
1. Look at your budget
With the New Year here, it’s time to sit down and look at your budget. This is important, not only for reducing your debt but also gaining a better understanding of how you will navigate through the year. Once you look at your income, investments, bills, and any other expenses you may have, then you can make adjustments to suit your current needs. You may find you don’t have as much to help pay off the debt, which might mean downgrading some subscriptions or finding different ways to make money. Knowing where you stand is the best step in helping you with your debt management.
2. Cancel subscriptions
Your subscriptions might be one of the first things to go to if you have a lot of debt that you need to deal with. More often than not, we have so many subscriptions that we can’t even keep track of what we’re using. So, you might want to sit down and have a look at your expenses to see which subscriptions you have. Sometimes, subscriptions you didn’t even know you had will pop up, causing you to spend money you shouldn’t. Once you have a list, look around to see which services you don’t use often, or those you can live without until you can get your finances under control. This can help save people hundreds of dollars a year, which will help you pay your debt with ease.
3. Transfer credit debt
If you’ve found yourself with a lot of credit card debt this season, then you might consider transferring the debt to another card. If you don’t mind applying for a new card then you might consider one that offers a few benefits. For instance, many credit card companies will offer no APR for several months, which can help you pay off the debt faster. Some credit cards will also offer a discount for those that do transfer the debt to their card. As long as you pay off your debt in a timely manner, these offers can help you to save big and they may even keep you on track when it comes to paying off the debt because the offers can motivate you to pay often. Of course, you will need to do research on the cards to ensure you’re going to benefit from the swap.
4. Stop spending
The last few months have been filled with spending, which might leave you feeling stressed out. If you’re looking at your finances and feeling a little queasy then one of the best things you can do in January is to stop spending money. Of course, you’ll need to pay the bills, purchase groceries, and take care of the necessities. When you do shop for groceries and necessities, try to keep things to a minimum to help cut costs even further. However, you shouldn’t shop for anything else during this time. This will allow you to recover from the holiday spending while helping you to get out of the habit of spending too much.
5. Use your tax refund
Debt can feel overwhelming, especially if it means adjusting your life to pay it off. If you’re making great efforts to pay off your debt and you still can’t shake it, then your tax refund might be a great option for you. When you get your refund after filing, then use the excess money to pay off the debt. This can help improve your credit score and may even allow you to go back to spend without having to worry. Even if the refund only makes a dent in the debt, it will help you to pay less interest while also allowing you to pay off the debt faster.
6. Pay extra
When you have a lot of debt to take on, one of the best things you can do is put extra on the payments you’re making. Often, the larger portion of your payment is going to be interested only. So, you’re not actually paying a lot towards the debt itself. When you pay extra, the extra money is going toward the balance that you’ve incurred. By paying extra, the balance is going to be lowered faster, which means interests cost will go down too. This will ensure your debt won’t haunt you as long as it would when paying the minimum payment.
7. Consider consolidation
Debt consolidation is another way to help get rid of your debt with less hassle. There are many debt consolidation companies that can help you feel confident that you can get rid of your debt. In the show, consolidating debt is like taking out a loan to pay off debtors, so you can focus on one payment, instead of many. Some companies will work with your debtors to potentially get a lower price, which can help you pay off the debt faster. The best thing about consolidation companies is everything tends to be handled for you most of the time, so you can just worry about your payment.
8. Small loan
If you don’t want to work with a loan consolidation company, then you might consider getting a small loan of your own. This will allow you to pay off the debt right away and will ensure you have one payment to pay on the debt. Often small loans will offer a lower interest rate if your credit is in a good range. This will allow you to feel more confident about taking out the loan and using it to pay debts. It’s important to shop around for a loan, but you should not apply to too many as this will reduce your credit score. When looking for a loan, you should start with your own bank or credit union though, as they may be able to offer you the best deal or advise you on where to go.
9. Take in extra income
Sometimes, our income just isn’t going to cut it, which is when it might be time to take on a side income. This can be anything from a flexible part-time job to a side hustle that brings you some joy. Finding a side hustle might be one of the easier options though, as many retail stores will be cutting hours after the holiday season to make up for the amount spent during the holidays. Side hustles can be anything from delivering food via an app or selling crafts online. You can also take surveys online, but this may take a bit of time to get the money you need to help pay off your debt.
10. Stay low budget
You might consider cutting down on the things you use as much as you possibly can. For instance, when you shop for groceries, cut out some of the luxury items that you can get away with not buying. You can also shop for generic brands instead of buying name-brand items. Another way to cut expenses is to use less water, gas, and electricity. This may mean cutting back on screen time, letting the house stay a little cooler, and taking shorter showers. This can help cut your bills substantially so you can get your debt paid down faster than you may have expected.
There are lots of ways to help reduce the debt you incur over the holiday season. These are just ten of the most popular ways that people take care of their debt while recovering from the holiday season. Of course, if you can, you should always talk to a financial advisor before you make any major decisions.