Holiday Debt


You spent so much money over the holidays that you're dreading opening your mailbox you just might have a problem. But, just like taking off those extra 5-10 pounds you may have gained, the best thing to do is deal with it promptly.

So, you promised yourself you'd stay within your shopping budget. "This holiday will be different, I'm not going to overspend!" But then it happened. You got caught up in spirit of the holidays; the pretty decorations, the joyful music, the incredible food, and the thanksgivings for your own blessings that annual celebrations often inspire. You just wanted to be generous to your loved ones or other families in need, but ended up sharing a bit more (or maybe a lot more) than you could really afford.

And, maybe, you even got caught up in the shopping frenzy of holiday bargains that were abundantly available. And, unfortunately, hoping that the bills just won't come in or that somehow they will get paid off over time could be risky; depending on how much you owe you could still be in the exact same boat a year from now, or even worse if you only make minimum payments. Not to mention the added sting of compounding interest.

If you overspent during the holidays here are 5 steps to help you get back on track quickly. Assess the Damage. How much do you owe? $100.00, $1,000.00 or maybe $10,000.00? The first thing you need to do is gather your receipts or call your credit card company (or companies) to get find out exactly how much you owe. Just waiting for the bills to arrive in the mail could put you further behind; you will lose valuable planning time. Once you know the total amount you owe you'll be able to make a plan to pay this holiday debt off, as quickly as possible.

And how do you do that? Just as we have to do with the extra 5 or 10 pounds we may have gained from overeating during the holidays by cutting back. Make cut backs over the next few weeks or months, or however long it may take you to get caught up. Unless you just totally went crazy over the holidays you should be able to pay off your holiday debts pretty quickly-and not to spoil the party but, just think how nice it would be to not owe anything!

Budgeting is truly a lot like dieting. It takes discipline and determination to do better, and to cut back when necessary.

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