When it comes to Christmas, people often throw their budgets out the window. Credit card companies sing carols in the halls as the debt piles up and their bonuses get bigger. People just assume they can take care of it next month or decide they’ll figure it out after the holidays because Uncle Fred really needs that food dehydrator.
Once the presents are unwrapped and reality sets in, you realize that your credit cards are bulging with debt and you need to make some decisions on how to get it paid off before next Christmas.
Pay Off as Much as Possible Right Away
Odds are most of the Christmas shopping was done recently, so the interest hasn’t been applied to it yet. Try and take care of as much of the debt as possible before that interest hits. It doesn’t matter if you make a payment every week or so, as long as you are paying down that debt. You should start with the highest interest rate cards first and work your way down. Do not pay only the minimums as this can take literally years to pay off the debt.
Make a Plan
Call each of your credit card companies and find out exactly who much you owe on each card, what their monthly interest rates are and when payments are due. If you have any credit cards that may go over the limit because of interest, then take care of them first. Make a plan to pay down and eliminate the debt each month. The last thing anyone wants is additional over the limit fees. Also, make sure you pay your bills on time and save yourself late fees.
Consolidate the Credit Debt
If you have a home equity line of credit or can get a home equity loan, then you can completely pay off the credit card companies, and instead, make a single loan payment. The interest rate on the loan is likely to be much less than the credit cards and you don’t have to worry about juggling several different payments. If you do chose this option, then try to stay away from using the credit cards until the loan is paid off. You don’t want a large monthly loan payment and credit card payments as well.
Work With A Credit Counselor or Repair Expert
If the debt is overwhelming and you don’t feel like you can take on the debt yourself, then you can work with a credit counseling or credit repair service. Credit repair services like Ovation specialize in helping people with large debts make the right decisions and will even work with credit card companies to help save on interest rates and monthly payments.
Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration, but for many it’s also a time for large debt. Don’t get stuck in the quagmire; follow these tips for getting your life back on track after the holiday season.