1. Know What You Spent
Money reality can be very difficult to face at times. In order to tackle a problem or manage any debt, especially holiday debt, you have to know what you spent. So look back at what you spent for holiday season 2018. Keep a record of all gift purchases and holiday expenses. It is hard for shoppers to make a budget and easy to underestimate their spending. So over budget for your list. If you are like the average holiday shopper, according to the American Research Group, you will spend over $920 on gifts!
2. Make Your Minimum Payments
After the holidays, money can be really tight and we mean really tight. Not only did you overspend, you're now not sure if you can even make your minimum payments. Make them. If you are really struggling call your credit card and let them know ahead of time. Many times they will work with you, setup a payment plan, waive a fee, you just have to ask. If you can, add more to your minimum payment, even an additional $30 can help you.
3. Call Your Credit Card Company
Talk to your credit card company if you are having trouble making a payment. Ask them if they can give you an extension, or be setup on a payment plan. Be sure to ask if there is a late fee, and if so, can they waive it as a courtesy. You can also ask about negotiating a better rate on interest, other fees, and expenses. If your interest rate is above 15 percent and they won’t negotiate with you, you may be able to transfer much of the balance to a lower-cost & lower/no balance card. Just make sure you pay off the debt before the interest rate climbs again. If this is a possibility for you, use that transfer balance option as a negotiating tactic with your current card company.
4. Try Not To Spend Any Excess Amounts In January
Be realistic, you still have to eat, have shelter and pay your bills, but see where you can cut back. Stick those credit cards in the freezer, if you have to, and do what it takes to avoid impulse shopping sprees. If you see something you really want, don't buy it right now, wait. Think about it for at least a day or up to 30 days. If you still want it, get it, but usually your want for it will pass.
5. Look For Deals and Coupons
Finding deals and coupons for necessary purchases aves you money and can help you feel better about your shopping decisicons. The best option for this is Ebates. You can shop online for everyday essentials at places like Walmart and Target and earn real cash back while doing so.
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6. Stick To Cash When Spending
Not using your credit card and having to actually use cash can help with impulse purchases. However, if you have a reward card, it is often better to use that credit to earn points, just make sure you pay it. With cash, simply keep a budgeted amount on hand and stay away from the cards unless absolutely necessary.
7. Cut Back Where You Can
Cut out going out to eat every weekend, pause nail salon appointments, or go longer in between appointments. If you normally order a Venti at Starbucks, try a Tall each day, you may be saving at least $50 in one month by doing that. Don't be too strict, just like a food diet, an economic diet is as easy to break as a rigid weight-loss regimen. So figure in your occasional, small splurge and don't feel bad about it.
8. Set Realistic and Small Goals
Don’t try to do everything at once, that may make you fail. Pick one small credit card to pay off in 3 or 6 months. Set small, obtainable goals and you’ll appreciate the results quicker.
DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!
Yes, that is in all caps on purpose. You may feel completely overwhelmed after the holidays, because you spent more than you should have. You did though. Unless there are items you can return, you can't change it. This is a mind issue now, don't start thinking you can't get out of the debt you acquired, you can. The best option now is stick to the items above and plan better for next year.