If you finished the holiday season with debt you are not alone! Financial advisor Brad Allen talks with Milwaukee’s WTMJ-4 about the 5 things you should have in your holiday hangover kit:
1. Make a Plan – It might be hard to see the debt-free light at the end of the tunnel, so start by marking up a planner of when bills are due and goal dates of when you’d like each bill to be at a certain balance. Get organized by gathering all of your statements, and write down the balance, payment date and interest rate on each credit card.
2. Find Frugal Entertainment – If you’re like many people, you splurged over the holidays– on both food and entertainment. For January and February, try cutting back. Maybe you got some new movies over the holidays: watch them at home instead of going to the theater. Use up your gift cards to cut back on spending, and try cutting back on coffee runs and lunches out.
3. Start a Snowball Effect – Once you’re ready to start attacking debt, start with the lowest balance card first, while still making minimum payments on all your other debts. Once that one is paid off, start on the second-lowest balance.
4. Look for Lower Rates – Credit card companies want their money back, so they’re often willing to work with customers to pay down debt. Ask if you can get a lower interest rate or shop around for a lower rate and transfer your balance.
5. Plan for Next Year – Make sure the ghost of Christmas past stays in the past. You don’t want your hard work in paying off your debt to go to waste. Take the total amount you spent on the holidays this year and divide that number by ten. Use the remaining months and weeks of your planner to set holiday saving goals and commit to saving each remaining month.