Now that the holidays are over, many people must now make plans to deal with the new debt they have accumulated. In fact, consumer credit agencies report a 25 percent spike in people seeking help in the first couple of months of the year. If you have credit card debt leftover from the holidays, read on!
Experts agree that the best way to use credit is to pay off the balance in full at the end of each billing cycle to avoid paying interest, which can add up to a costly amount over time. Many Americans, however, opt only to make the minimum payment or pay a portion of their balance each month. Compounded with new debt from the holidays, however, larger balances mean larger monthly payments that can be more difficult to afford. Many people then find themselves in an unfortunate situation several months after the holidays when they are still paying for their purchases.
While you can’t go back and undo holiday spending, there are a few important things that a consumer can learn from it:
Pre-holiday budgeting and planning is very important. If you plan on using credit to make purchases, have a plan in place to have the balance paid off in 30 to 60 days, but no longer than 90 days.
Want to estimate how much your Christmas debt is costing you? Bankrate.com has a free credit card minimum payment calculator that allows users to plug in their credit card balance, interest rate, and how much they are paying per month to determine how long it will take to pay off the debt and how much it will ultimately cost. This tool is as sobering as it is useful!
Look back at your spending habits and use them to plan for next Christmas. Figure out what you spent and try to put aside some money each month so you will accumulate that amount again by the end of 2016. If you don’t have room in your finances to do so, it may be a good idea to consider cutting back on your holiday spending this year. Remember that Christmas is not about how much money you spend, but about how much time you spend with those you love.
For more financial tips and information on debt management options, please call Allmand Law Firm, PLLC today to request a free consultation with a Dallas bankruptcy lawyer. Our attorney, Reed Allmand, is Board Certified in Consumer Bankruptcy by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, so you can be confident that your case will be in good hands.
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