For most people, Christmas is seen as the most joyous time of year for both young and old. All of us are delighted to wind up the year of work or school and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. They don’t call it the silly season for nothing either. Eating and spending too much is the norm and it’s remarkably easy to lose track of your savings and your waistline! Enjoying a hard-earned holiday is vital for our emotional health, so it’s easy to overindulge in gifts and family holidays during the festive season. But alas, the new year comes around soon enough and we can all start anew. Time to make some resolutions and prepare for the year in advance.
Before we recognise it, we’re back in the same schedule. Work, school, bills, stress. But what if you’re in the predicament where you spent a bit too much during the course of the festive season and now you’re in debt? Well, don’t be alarmed, it happens to many people during this time of year. The good thing is we’ve got some recommendations on how you can efficiently repay your Christmas debts in a timely fashion.
Make a list of your debts
The first step in repaying your Christmas debts is to work out how much you owe. Find a pen and paper and list all of the debts you have, in addition to the creditor’s, interest rates, next repayment date and repayment amounts. Try to be conservative here and list every single debt you have, irrespective of how big or small. After you’ve figured out your repayment amounts, you’ll need to work out a plan on paying off the principal, which leads us to our next tip.
Bear in mind that debts includes both interest repayments and principals. Paying the interest only will doing nothing long-term, so after you’ve worked out your repayment amounts, the next step is to devise a plan on paying off the principal. It’s usually best to concentrate on the highest interest rate debts initially which will save you money in the long run. Interest on loans are a formidable force and can stifle your finances if you don’t take care. You also might want to list your income streams at the same time so you can figure out how much will be left over for living expenses. This will assist you in our next tip, creating a budget.
To make sure that you can still enjoy the year in advance, you’ll need to repay your Christmas debt within the first quarter of the year, so setting up a budget and sticking to it is imperative. If you’ve had difficulty following a budget previously, there are loads of great smartphone apps that can assist you with sustaining your budget. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t imply you can’t have any fun either. There are a number of free and inexpensive activities available, you just need to alter your perspective and don’t let your Christmas debt take control of your life.
Save, save, save
Whilst it may sound obvious, the quickest way to pay off debt is to grow your savings and avoid unnecessary expenses. You might choose to stop dining in restaurants once a week which can save you a surprising amount of money. Or you might catch public transport to work to save money on gas. If you feel inclined, cut up your credit cards! Do whatever you have to do to save money – being prudent is fundamental. Get in control of your expenses and save as much as possible; you don’t want your holiday debt hangover to last until next Christmas!
Monitor your progress
Assess your progression every month to see how well your plan is performing. You might intend to make some changes if needed, and you’ll have a better idea of what changes are rational based upon the past month’s efforts. If you’re being super disciplined and have over-performed, then reward yourself to celebrate your achievement. A reward doesn’t have to cost an extravagant amount of money, but it will improve your motivation to stick to your plan in times of need. By budgeting and tracking your progression, you’ll have better financial skills and hopefully won’t be stuck in the same position next Christmas!
If you can’t manage your debts, seek advice immediately
If you’ve really tried to at least reduce your debts in a timely fashion and haven’t prevailed, you may be experiencing financial hardship. Instead of waiting and paying a growing amount of interest, it’s better to seek advice from the experts before your situation gets worse. There are many options available for those in financial hardship and they vary depending on your individual circumstances. For a confidential discussion on how to adequately manage your debts, call Bankruptcy Dandenong on 1300 818 575 or visit http://www.bankruptcy-dandenong.com.au/