The presents have all been opened, the tree has been packed away and you have all kinds of magical holiday memories. So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately, one more gift has yet to arrive in the mail – your credit card bill, and it’s going to be a doozy. But January’s credit card bill doesn’t have to destroy December’s good cheer. Everyone can find some simple ways to pay off debt you accumulated during the holiday season.
The bad news is, short of stealing presents and returning them, there is not much you can do to take the cold sting out of that holiday debt. However, there is some good news on the horizon: You have the power to tackle your bills, pay off debt from the holiday season, and make it disappear for good.
Here’s 5 easy strategies everyone can do to pay off debt from the holidays:
1. Employ the snowball method.
One of the most effective methods for debt repayment is the snowball method, a strategy made famous by financial guru Dave Ramsey. Basically, you vow to make minimum payments on all your debts starting with the smallest one. Once it’s gone, you set your sights on the next smallest debt until it’s also obliterated. Then, simply rinse and repeat. When it comes to the largest debt, you’ll attack it with a vengeance, throwing all your money at it until it’s gone.
2. Strip your budget to the bare bones.
Of course, finding extra money will be a whole lot easier if you’re able to cut down on your monthly spending. For some, that might mean eating at home for a few months or simply staying away from the mall. But for others, that could mean canceling your cable TV subscription or giving up those manicures or hair cuts until you pay off all the debt. Either way, stripping your budget to the bones is an easy, sure-fire way to free up some extra money that you can throw towards paying off your debt.
3. Sell anything and everything.
Selling items is another great way to get out of holiday debt once and for all. But that doesn’t mean you need to have a bake sale or lemonade stand; instead, you can sell anything and everything you don’t want or need. Start by going through your house and identifying items that are unused. Then post them on Craigslist or another retail website you feel comfortable using.
Consider selling presents you received but don’t want, old tools and electronics, and toys your kids have outgrown. And once you do, throw the money you bring in straight toward your holiday debt. Not straight towards buying other material things.
4. Score a side hustle.
Selling your stuff is a great way to score some cash, but so is getting a part-time job. And thanks to the internet, there are more opportunities than ever to do just that. For example, sites like TaskRabbit.com can help you find work doing anything from running errands to grocery shopping. Meanwhile, sites like Elance.com allow you to compete for freelancing jobs in a wide variety of industries. Score a side hustle, and you can use the money you earn to chip away at all those unwanted holiday bills.
5. Sacrifice your tax refund.
Everyone starts getting excited about the prospect of a tax refund this time each year, and you’re probably no exception. However, if you have holiday debt still hanging around, the most responsible thing to do with your refund is use it to pay off debt. Throwing your tax refund at your debt probably isn’t nearly as fun as whatever else you were planning, but it might help you sleep better at night.
You can’t change the fact that you charged your holiday purchases, but you are in control of how long it takes to pay them off. If you want to get out of debt and stay out of debt, all you need to do is create a plan to make it happen. And by the time the next holiday season rolls around, you’ll be glad you did.