As the Christmas-spending credit card bills start to roll in, are you asking yourself how you’re going to pay them off in a reasonable time? Pay off your Christmas bills with these 6 tips.
1. Did you receive any money for Christmas gifts? If so, we recommend putting that money on your credit cards now, and paying yourself back later. That way you can save yourself some interest charges, and the interest money you save over time will help you to get out of debt faster.
2. Return those unneeded impulse purchases you bought for yourself, or any gifts you won’t use. Many pre- and post-Christmas sales entice us to buy ourselves a present or two, and you may find you have buyer’s remorse about it later. Assess what you bought and what you can return but only if you find the money would be more helpful than the item right now.
As for gifts, see if you can return unwanted items for a full refund, or if not then try to sell the item as “brand new” using free, online services like Craigslist or eBay. (Remember to be discreet about this so you don’t hurt the gift-giver’s feelings!) Then take that money from your refunds or sales and put it towards those bills!
3. Time to clean house. If you bought yourself or were given a new lamp, it’s time to sell your old lamp. In with the new and out with the old, hopefully will bring you a bit of money as you sell off your unused items.
For the best return, sell items that are season-appropriate to the current or upcoming season. January is a good time to sell a snow shovel and get a fair price, while a BBQ is best to sell in May or closer to summer.
4. Cut back on your discretionary expenses. It’s time to tighten the belt with less dining out and entertainment spending. You probably don’t have a lot of parties planned for right after the holiday season, however, you may be able to cut back on the little things you do just out of habit or feeling tired from the festivities – such as gourmet coffees and fast food or take-out for dinner. Think of all the little ways you can save money and cut back purchases until those bills are paid.
5. Consider earning more money by taking on extra work. We may be in the slow season for shops and restaurants, but there are other part-time jobs available, such as shoveling snow! Think seasonal, and play to your strengths. You may be able to pick up extra hours at your current job by taking on more responsibility there.
6. Start saving NOW for next Christmas! Okay so this isn’t going to help with the bills this year, but it will keep you out of this same bill boat next year so it’s the most important step! Make a holiday budget for next year and start putting aside a little each month for the coming expenses – save yourself from the debt hangover next January!