Dealing with post-Christmas debt
The gifts have all been unwrapped and the Christmas turkey eaten, and now the only thing that remains of your holiday is the memories — and the debt. The first several months of the year are a particularly trying time for many families because that’s when they have to face the bills from all that holiday spending. To top it all off, money, or lack of it, is one of the biggest reasons that holiday cheer turns into spousal arguments. To avoid the need to hire family law solicitors, here are a few tips to help get your finances and your family back on track.
1. Tighten the budget. The first thing you should do to deal with your post-Christmas debt is stop the bleeding. You may have racked up some pretty serious credit card bills in the months leading up to Christmas, and continuing to balloon your balances will only make the situation worse. Think of incidental expenses, such as eating out or going to the cinema, as off-limits for a while. And you may even want to cut back on household bills like cable or sky.
2. Let the rest of the family in on the game plan. Ifyou’re the only one in the household trying to save money, your efforts could be unknowingly thwarted by your spouse or children. Ask the other members of your household to be more conscious when using electricity and heating, for example. And ask them for more ideas on how you can save as a family unit.
3. Make a beeline away from the shopping mall. You may have been duped into buying items you don’t need in the chaos that is holiday shopping, but there’s no need to fall for those advertising tricks post-holiday. Forget about going out for a leisurely stroll at your local shopping centre, and head instead to the park or find another form of free entertainment.
4. Consider debt consolidation. Paying down the balances of several different credit cards can be overwhelming, so you may want to consider consolidating those debts onto one card. This can also be a way to save money on interest if you open a new credit card account that has a promotional no-interest period. Just beware of using this strategy long-term; if you don’t pay off the balance by the end of the interest-free period, you could end up paying more interest than you were before.
5. Return unopened items. Here’s another way to undo some of the credit damage done while you were in the spirit of giving — and buying. If you have unopened purchases from last month, try to get a refund for them. After all, if you haven’t touched them by now, they probably weren’t necessities.