Getting scared to get the next credit card bill in after all of the Christmas shopping and spending while friends and family were all in town? You are not alone, in that every year seems to spend more in gifts, not to mention it is the time of year where you are busy shopping and meeting friends and family, so you are not staying home to cook, so charges are just adding up. Pretty soon you will get a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars and try to avoid a panic in wondering how you will ever pay this back in time.
Stop Using Credit Cards
Well first thing’s first, put the credit cards away. You can’t get spending until control if you are still on a continuous shopping spree, as it can be easy during the holidays, you will need to curb spending and go back to a strict household budget. Using cash for a little while can help, as you will only spend what you allotted, not to mention seeing cash leave your hand for a transaction could make you give a second thought about the purchase.
Start Paying Down Balances
Now that you hopefully have halted spending and freeing up extra money with a household budget, the next step is to pay down the balance. Depending on the number of cards, the balance, and interest rate that you are paying, if could make sense to attack a couple different ways. First, pay down the highest interest rate first, so that money is not going straight to the creditor for nothing other than not paying your full balance by the next statement. Next, you could pay the card with the smallest balance first. You will some instant gratification seeing it at a zero balance that it will motivate you to not fall back into your old ways and actually get out of debt completely.
Build Up an Emergency Account
Now that you are on strict spending limits you should not only avoid using credit cards for unnecessary purchases, but also in case of emergency, you will want to have available funds just in case. If your car needs repair or say your furnace goes out in the middle of winter, putting on a credit card will just drive you deeper into debt, so you should build an emergency fund of at least three to six months’ worth of expenses to have on hand.
If all else fails and you find the balances to be too high and the interest rates costing too much money each month that you are not making a dent into the principal balance, then it makes sense to transfer balances or even take out a consolidation loan. With great promo rates on balance transfers, although a fee to transfer, you could pay off debt much quicker. With a consolidation loan, you are taking out a personal loan, but at least there are repayment terms and likely half the interest rate as your credit card.