1. Don’t Ignore Bills- When bills look daunting, the easy thing to do is just push them aside until you save up enough to pay them off. But, this is dangerous. The longer you wait to make a payment the more fees you will incur. Similarly, late payments show up in your credit score. Pushing those bills aside now may mean that you are not granted a loan in the future.
2. Don’t add more Debt- Put your credit cards away for a little while. Try to pay off the bills for what you bought over the holiday season before adding anything new to the bill. Stick to the debit card or cash for everyday purchases for a month or two.
3. Pay more than the Minimum Balance- The more you pay off each month means the quicker that debt will disappear. Sacrificing a little after the holidays, like eating at home instead of at a restaurant, can really help to pay those bills off quickly. Save all extra money to pay off your bills.
4. Return Unused Purchases- So your son/daughter/spouse/friend doesn’t like the sweater you bought them, don’t let it sit and collect dust in their closet, that is just money down the drain. Return items that don’t fit or will not be used.
5. Prepare for Next Year- Start early! Create SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals for next year’s holiday spending. Create a savings plan for the year so that by the time the holidays roll around again you will be ready to shop worry free!
Most importantly, remember that the holidays are a time to enjoy, but not so much that you are stuck scrambling for money the rest of the year. By planning early and using these great tips, the holidays will be the joyous, relaxing time you need- without breaking the bank.