Did you know that during the holiday season, the average American racks up over $1,000 of debt? From gifts to entertainment, the holidays are filled with expenses that might have you feeling overwhelmed now that the season is over. If you are feeling this way about your holiday debt, continue reading for five strategies to help you pay it off and avoid the post-holiday stress.
Make a game plan for how you want to repay
On average, Americans have 3.4 credit cards, and if you’re like most Americans, you probably used more than one credit card during the holidays. In order to tackle multiple payments, it’s important to develop a payment game plan.
One great strategy is to pay off the balance that has the highest interest rate first. This works because you pay down the debt that will rack up the most interest, saving money. Another option that works for some is to repay the smallest balance first. Paying off small balances helps you to feel like you are making progress and keeps you motivated.
Stick to your budget
Whenever you have a high debt to pay off, it’s a great time to make and stick with a strict monthly budget. Use an online budget calculator, like this one, to develop a monthly budget with your credit card bills factored in. After you laid out a budget, check out our new year’s savings tips to help you trim your spending and stick to your budget. Getting into the habit of a strict monthly budget can also help you break the cycle of over-spending on credit cards.
Pay throughout the month
Another strategy for tackling debt is to make multiple payments throughout the month when you have the money available instead of waiting for your monthly bill to arrive. For example, once you receive your paycheck, put some of it towards your balance right away, rather than using it to shop or eat out. While it’s tempting to spend on purchases outside of your budget, instead put some towards making a dent in your holiday debt.
Check for rewards
The months following the holidays are a great time to cash in on the rewards that many credit cards offer. Check and see your cards offer any rewards that you can take advantage of now, such as cash back or points. Though it might seem more exciting to use rewards towards flights or a vacation, using them now reduces your balance before you have to spend more.
Consolidate your debt with a low-interest loan
If you have many different credit card balances to pay off, one of the easiest ways to pay off your debt is with a loan at a low interest rate. Using a loan restructures your debt while also typically offering more affordable interest rates. It’s a great strategy to simplify your payments and save money on interest.
For the month of January, CTFCU is offering a holiday debt payoff loan with rates as low as 8.49% for a loan up to $2,500. Contact us or visit the branch to get started on your holiday debt payoff loan!