Right now we’re all suffering from a holiday hangover. You may have ate too much, spent too much time running around, and if you’re like most people, you probably spent too much! Many people pay for Christmas gifts and festivities with credit cards. If you’re already dreading getting that first credit card bill in the mail, we have 5 ways to help you pay off your Christmas credit card debt quickly.
Make a plan
Be brutally honest with yourself about what your credit card balance is. This is the only way you will be able to make an effective plan to pay off the debt. Determine how much you can afford to put toward paying it off each month and make a commitment to paying that amount every single month until the debt is paid off. Your plan should also include paying the credit cards with the highest interest rates first.
Speak to your credit card company.
Credit card companies are frequently willing to work with you to help pay down your credit card debt. You can check interest rates on your existing cards to find out how much you will have to pay over time in interest. You can also find out if you qualify for a card with 0% interest, and then transfer your balances to that card.
You can eat out less, make coffee at home, rent movies instead of going to the theatre, and even get a second job to cut expenses and make extra cash. Any extra money should go toward the credit card debt. Additionally, if you received money as a Christmas gift or are expecting a tax return, put it towards your credit card bills.
Don’t get stuck in a cycle
You should stop using your credit cards right now. Adding to your debt while you’re working to pay it off will land you in a never-ending cycle of debt.
Preparing a monthly budget will help you identify where your money is going and how much extra money you have. Knowing how much you can afford to spend will prevent you from making purchases you can’t really afford and having to use credit cards in the future. A good budget will also allow you to plan for next year’s Christmas, by setting aside savings or joining a program like SECU’s Christmas Club.