For those of you who followed our advice on shopping for the holidays without breaking the bank, congratulations! You can read this with a grin on your face knowing that you are okay and don’t need any advice on how to recover from the holiday shopping binge… for all of you other folks who have just received your credit card statements from the end of the year, here are some tips to get you out of the hole and keep your sanity.
Don’t ignore that new debt you just racked up, dig right in and start to get rid of it. Take a look at all of your credit cards (you really should have used cash huh?) and pick out the one with the lowest balance… forget about which one has the lowest interest rate. By concentrating on the account with the lowest balance first, you will be able to pay it off sooner. The quicker you can pay off a debt, the better you will feel… this will give you that boost you need to stick with it!
Do Leave Home without It
Stash those nasty credit cards in a safe place… no, you wallet is not a safe place. Leave them at home, stop using the credit cards until you get everything paid off. If you just can’t stand not having a credit card with you, take just one for emergencies and leave the rest at home.
Step Away from the Sales
Avoid the temptation to start your New Year out with another spending spree. Those post-holiday sales can be tempting, often with deep discounts, but don’t do it! Stay focused on your goal, don’t get yourself deeper in debt.
Budget, Budget, Budget
If you don’t have one already, and you really should, create a budget. We’ve talked at length on making a budget, see The Simplest Way to Set Up a Budget for Your Family, it’s easy to do and stick to if you follow our advice.
Show Me the Money
Cash… use cash. You will spend less money if you have to rely on cash to make your purchases instead of a credit card. There is a sense of no value when we use a piece of plastic to buy stuff. If you use cash, that hard-earned cash, every time you bought something, you will be able to actually see your money going away… usually what seems like the speed of light.
Do you Need It or Want It?
In order to curb your post-holiday spending and get in recovery mode, you must stop the indiscriminate spending. Before you spend $6.00 on a gourmet coffee or 100 bucks on a new pair of shoes, ask yourself “Do I need this, or it that I just want it?”
Plan for the New Year
Avoid falling into the same mess next year, plan for the coming holidays, you have 11 months to do it. A great idea is to set up a separate “Holiday Spending” account for this year. Beginning now, make small deposits each pay period. If you keep this up and keep to your debt reduction plan, you will be able to recover from your holiday spending hangover and have the money to buy those wonderful gifts next year, not to mention having your credit cards paid off and feeling great about yourself!