Christmas Is A Memory, The Bills Are Not

Christmas Is A Memory, The Bills Are Not

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If you delayed your Christmas shopping until the days just before the holiday, then you probably escaped the early credit cardsJanuary credit card bills that tend to show up around the first of the year. A thirty-day reprieve is nice, but one thing may now be apparent: your Christmas credit card bills have come due in February.

Christmas Buys Are Now Due 

Those sales leading up to Christmas meant that you saved a lot of money on your purchases as stores slashed prices in a bid to move inventory. For shoppers paying cash, huge savings were realized, perhaps the best deals for the entire year.

Pay Off Your Cards ASAP

If you charged your purchases, those big savings will disappear if you do not pay off your credit card balances immediately. Saving 20 or 30 percent on electronics, clothing, and personal goods is a treat, but if you stretch out your payments over several months, then the accumulated interest will wipe out those savings.

The tendency for some consumers when they receive their credit card bills post-holiday is to go into shock — too much spending and not enough money to pay everything off. The first thing to do is get past your shock and determine what you owe. Next, come up with a plan to pay off the balances, even if you don’t have the means to pay it off all at once. Spreading repayment over several months can help you wipe out holiday debt and cutting other expenses can help you do that faster.

Coming Up With A Plan

Besides cutting other expenses, you can gain control of your finances now by instituting the following measures:

Stop spending — Don’t add to your credit card balances. Instead, only pay cash for new purchases. Nip the problem in the bud now and you’ll gain control of your debt quickly.

Save money — Christmas club plans have just about vanished at banks across the US. However, you can authorize your bank to automatically withdraw $5, $10 or $20 weekly from your checking account and deposit those funds in a special savings account. Come next October, those monies will be available to you and you won’t need to use your credit card for next Christmas’ purchases.

Tap your home’s equity — Not recommended by many financial advisors, but still an option open to you is to take equity out of your home to pay off your debt. You can get a low rate loan and pay those monies back over a longer period of time, but there is a catch — if you default on the loan, you could risk losing your home.

Christmas debt can easily overwhelm Christmas memories by adding stress to your life months after the tree has been taken down. Take command of your finances now and come up with a plan that works best for you.  Come next Christmas, you can reap the rewards of your diligence and enjoy the holiday without worrying how you will pay for everything later on.

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