If you fear you might have overspent this Christmas and worry you might not be able to pay the credit card bills that will soon be coming your way , it can understandably be tempting to want to bury your head in the sand; however, it tends to be much better to know where you stand, so that you are in the empowered position to nip any issues in the bud rather than let them spiral out of control.
Here are a few pointers to help you get your finances back on track, as the majority of the world nurses their financial hangover after overspending in the festive period.
- SELL ITEMS YOU DON’T USE
Many people have things lying around, or even in draws or the attic, that they don’t use anymore. If you are willing to consider selling these items, you could sell them online via sites like Craigslist or eBay, or even have a more traditional garage sale, depending on the weather this season where you live. If you have gift cards that you don’t plan to use, you could sell these too; and if you have any unopened gifts that are unwanted after Christmas, then consider taking them back to the store and receive a store credit in return.
- GET AN ADDITIONAL JOB
Depending on your schedule, consider getting a part-time job for a few months, or perhaps setting up some freelancing or small business, like dog sitting, opportunities. Investing a few hours each day in either activity could give you sufficient earnings to pay off your debt at a much faster pace.
- REDUCE CURRENT SPENDINGS
It can be heard to cut back after such exuberance in the festive season; however, you’ll be joining the majority of people as they tend to their financial hangovers after spending so much during the holidays. Indeed, January is one of the quietest times of the year for restaurants and hotels.
- MANAGE YOUR CREDIT CARDS
Focus on paying credit cards that have the highest Annual Percentage Rate (APR) first. You might find that you can’t realistically repay your credit card balances. In this scenario, consider getting a credit card that levies no interest on balance transfers for 12 – 24 months. Pay the nominal transaction fee (approximately three percent of the amount transferred). You will be able to save more money on this card. Remember that your existing card will charge you interest once you cross the interest-free period.
- DON’T USE PLASTIC
Until you repay all your bills, avoid making any further purchases on your credit card; and try to pay in cash for making purchases, as this makes you feel more connected to the amount you are spending. Doing this will ensure you avoid adding to your existing levels of debt.
That said, if you find that your credit score has been compromised with your overspending, once you have paid off your outstanding debt, try using financial products available specifically for the purpose of rebuilding credit.
As an example, there are plenty of rebuilding credit cards available for people that have a poor credit score who are looking to improve their financial position. These credit cards often charge a reasonably high rate of interest, but they are a great way to help rebuild your credit; and presuming you pay off the balance each month, they are a worthwhile investment in repairing your credit.
In summary, please know you’re not alone if you’ve overspent this Christmas, as there are plenty of people who will be nursing their financial hangover this New Year. The trick is to get back on track as fast as possible, and to do that, you need to focus on getting more money in and spending less–even if just for a little while.