Dayton Daily News
Too much holiday spending? Here’s how to deal with your debt
While the holidays are fun, they can be expensive. The holiday season may have been a major blow to your bank account. If so, you may be suffering from holiday debt. Struggling with debt can impact you in many ways, including your credit score.
Your credit score is crucial, as having a good credit score can ensure you’ll have access to loans and credit cards with lower interest rates.
So, after your Christmas lights and other holiday decorations are put away, it’s important to evaluate your financial situation. The faster you get on track paying off your holiday debt the better. Also, it’s important to learn how to avoid holiday debt in the future.
Better Business Bureau offers these tips to consider when dealing with holiday debt:
■ Assess your financial situation. Make a list of your debts, payment due dates and create a goal for when you would like them paid.
■ Stop using your credit cards to avoid going deeper in debt.
■ Contact credit card companies to reduce interest rates or restructure your payment plans.
■ Make sure you’re able to make at least the minimum payment monthly.
■ Be mindful about spending. Cut any unnecessary spending and only spend money on essential items while you catch up on your holiday debt.
■ Consider couponing to save money. The money you save could allow you to pay off more debt.
■ Be intentional about the credit cards you use and know why you have them. Consider getting rid of any with annual fees and getting cards offering rewards.
■ Consider paying down credit cards with higher interest rates before the rest or paying the smallest bill entirely before tackling the rest. But, don’t stop paying on any of the cards.
■ Consider transferring high-interest balances to a lower interest rate credit card.
■ Use tax returns, raises and bonuses you may receive to pay your debt, instead of spending it.
■ Consider picking up an extra job to pay off debt.
■ Start saving. After you pay off your debt, start putting away money for the next holiday season to avoid falling into the same trap.
■ Shop early and smart for the upcoming holidays. Buying holiday gifts throughout the year as opposed to all at once can help you create smaller, more manageable bills.
Credit counseling agencies can help you learn how to manage money and negotiate with creditors. Visit www.BBB.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301 for a list of BBB Accredited credit counseling agencies.