Now that we are now in the post-holiday season, many people are facing additional debts after shopping for their loved ones. The pandemic has caused many to carry a heavy debt load and this made holiday shopping way too expensive. Maybe you, like many, have used your credit cards to purchase gifts.
As per the Federal Reserve, less than 50% of consumers pay off their credit card bills fully every month. Additionally, the majority of consumers do not make on-time debt payments and carry holiday debt for a long time into the months of 2021. As a result, if you’ve paid for your holiday list with plastic, you’ll find that your credit card balance has grown. You may be stressed about trying to make extra payments every month in addition to household expenses.
But fear not! With a few effective tips, you may handle post-holiday debts properly and save money. Let’s check them out!
Ways to Pay Off Post-holiday Debts
#1 Get a clear picture of your finances
Before taking any major steps to get out of credit card debts, it is crucial to review your financial condition. You must analyze your monthly budget and fix short and long-term financial goals before following any strategy to pay off debts.
You will require a complete list of all of your outstanding debts, payment due dates, minimum payment amounts, interest rates for each account, and the period to pay off your post-holiday bills. You must consider the fact that paying off debt is important to build a strong financial future. Once you are debt-free you may work on completing the other financial goals that you wish to achieve in 2021.
#2 Prepare a Budget
You need to figure out a practical amount that you need to spend each month. For that reason, you need to prepare a good budget plan and categorize all expenses into certain categories. You should prioritize the essential costs like food expenses, household expenses, groceries, mortgage payments, utility bills, etc.
You may have to skip costs like ordering takeout from expensive restaurants, entertainment expenses and frivolous spending. Your prime target should be tracking and analyzing every expense, and reducing them as much as possible.
With a good budget, you may be able to save a good amount of money each month and use that money to pay off debts faster.
#3 Ask your creditors
Credit card bills are the most disturbing post-holiday debts that you may think of. So, if you are having issues with multiple credit card payments, then you may contact your creditors and ask them to lower your interest. You may also ask them to set up easy repayment options that can be affordable to you. If you have a good credit score, then the creditors might work with you happily.
#4 Increase your income
Due to the pandemic in 2020, many have lost their job or are suffering from pay cuts. If you have a steady job and a good salary, you are one lucky person! But still, you should work on increasing your total monthly income by pursuing any type of side hustles, as per your capacity or interest.
Increasing income and paying off debt is one of the best debt solution options for you if you can bear a little extra work pressure. This way you may earn more than your normal paycheck and can use it for paying off post-holiday credit card debts.
#5 Set up an automatic payment option
Often consumers fail to pay off credit card bills on time because they forget the due dates. As a result, they have to pay extra interest on the existing balances as well as the late fees. The best way to stop this from happening is to set up an automatic payment system via your bank. This way you may pay off your credit cards on time every month.
Set up automatic payments with your bank to transfer money directly from your checking account as soon as you get your paycheck. This way you can avoid late payments and your credit score will remain intact.
#6 DIY debt repayment strategy for post-holiday debt
You may choose a debt repayment strategy to pay off your debts faster.
You have two popular methods:
- the debt avalanche method
- the debt snowball method
Through the avalanche method, you may list up all the credit card debts from highest interest rate to lowest. Then make minimum payments to all the debt accounts. Then, make payments to the highest interest account as much as possible. Once it is paid off, target the next one with the highest interest rate.
Using this strategy will boost your savings from the interest payment as you are targeting the highest interest balances first. But it may take a while to pay off your holiday debts entirely.
By using a debt snowball method you can pay off your debts faster. You have to list up your credit card debts from the lowest balance to the highest one. Then, you have to pay them off starting from the smallest balance. Once you pay off the first one, choose the next one. This way the number of unpaid credit card debt accounts will be paid off faster.
Don’t forget to make the minimum payments to the other credit card accounts. If you don’t pay them, you may add up more interest and late fees.
#7 Get professional help if possible
If you experience difficulties while implementing DIY strategies to handle your debts, then you may take the help of a professional entity that can provide debt management services. Those non-profit companies can help you to consolidate your post-holiday credit card debts and pay them off with a single, affordable payment plan.
#8 Get a balance transfer card
You can choose a balance transfer method and transfer all the high-interest credit card balances into one card. This way you may pay the balances later with a nominal interest rate. Many credit card companies may offer you a 0% APR balance transfer card if you have a good credit score and a decent payment history.
The 0% APR period may last for 12 to 18 months, depending on the credit card company’s policies. During that period you don’t have to pay a single dollar as interest. So, it will help you to save more on post-holiday credit debt payments.
#9 Use tax returns and holiday bonuses
You may use the money from your holiday bonuses and tax returns to pay off your credit card bills. These are two big funds that can help you to make any big payments while you are in sudden financial need. So, if you consider your unpaid post-holiday debts as an important financial issue, then you may think about this option. Paying off the total credit debt balances at once may give a boost to your credit score.
If you have found yourself to be one of those unfortunate consumers who have shopped openly in the last holiday season, you probably worried now about repaying your debt. We have given you ways to move forward with your payments. So, what are you waiting for? Gather all the documents, calculator, pen, and start analyzing and taking action on your post-holiday debts.
Article written by Patricia Sanders, a financial content writer from Debt Consolidation Care. She has been praised for her effective financial tips that can be followed easily. Her passion for helping people who are stuck in financial problems has earned her recognition and honor in the industry.