It’s the most wonderful time of the year—snowflakes are falling, bright lights are shining, and credit cards are constantly swiping. While it feels great to buy gifts for your loved ones, the aftermath on your credit card bill isn’t quite so joyful. As we head into the new year, the last thing we want to worry about is how many months it will take to recover from holiday spending.
To bounce back from holiday debt ASAP, follow these 4 tips.
1. Start cutting back
Phew! Now that the holiday celebrations have come to a close, you can finally start to cut back without feeling like you’re missing out on all of the fun. In order to start chipping away at your holiday debt, it’s important to start cutting back as soon as possible, and don’t be afraid to make some serious changes in order to start making progress. Here are a few simple ideas.
- Cook dinners at home and bring leftovers for lunch
- Invite friends over for game night instead of going out on the town
- Sign up for a coupon app to save money on household items
- Take advantage of free events on the weekends
While you’re trying to pay off your credit card bill, make a conscious effort to use your credit card less—remember that old debit card of yours? With that said, there are certain advantages to using your credit card, like building your credit and redeeming rewards. The main takeaway here is to be more strategic about when you’re using your credit card and try to pay off charges immediately when possible.
2. Identify your goal
Getting rid of debt isn’t easy, so, in order to push yourself toward a debt-free lifestyle, you’ll want to set realistic goals. By taking your monthly income and subtracting other fixed and variable expenses, come up with a number that you can pay toward your credit card bill each month. Feel free to be aggressive with that number, but also be reasonable about how much you need in order to survive and live comfortably.
Figure out which date you’ll be holiday debt-free and mark it on a calendar to help keep you accountable for reaching your goals. And once you’re done, be sure to celebrate your victory with a budget-friendly activity.
3. Set up automated payments
Missing bill payments can be seriously damaging to your budget and your credit score. To avoid incurring late fees and damaging your financial reputation, consider setting up automated payments for any and all of your bills.
4. Create a plan for next year
It’s never too early to start saving or planning for the holidays. Oftentimes, our finances take the hardest hit during the season because we’re stuck spending and spending in the span of a few short months, rather than throughout the year. So, why not plan ahead and spread your shopping out throughout the year? Or at the very least, just start saving ahead of time by setting up a holiday savings account!
Use these tips to help you start the new year off right!