Dayton Daily News

Too much hol­i­day spend­ing? Here’s how to deal with your debt

- John North Business · Student Debt · Finance · Lifestyle · Shopping · Money Tips · Personal Finance · Lifehacks · Credits · Better Business Bureau

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.

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