Dealing With Festive Debts
Research suggests that adults spend around £550 on Christmas, adding to an average total household debt of £2,795 during the festive period.
That’s an awful lot of money for what is essentially a bunch of presents for loved ones, wrapping paper and more boxes of mince pies than you probably need.
At the time of writing, it’s April; spring has sprung (sort of) and Christmas is but a distant memory. But if you’re still facing mounting credit card bills each month as a result of your Christmas overspend, the following tips will help you get out of that black hole.
Be strategic with debt repayments
Clearly, you want to get rid of that Christmas debt, but trying to do so as quickly as possible isn’t a good idea.
By throwing as much of your income at those debts as possible you may inadvertently use funds that are far better attributed elsewhere. For instance, your household bills are arguably more important than that Christmas debt, but if you spend too much money paying off the latter you may find yourself unable to pay for life’s essentials.
Instead, budget for the debt repayments and don’t be too ambitious. Work out exactly what you can put aside each month after every vital expense to pay it off and don’t go over that figure.
Consolidate your debts
There’s a brilliant trick for making multiple debt repayments far less burdensome, and it’s known as debt consolidation.
Your Christmas debt might join a number of other debts you already have, such as store and credit cards. By combining them all into one single debt with one monthly repayment, you’ll reach the finish line far quicker and have no worries about missing payments.
Halt any unnecessary spending
Christmas debt is something very few people account for, therefore when it rears its ugly head it can be tough to work out how on earth it’ll be repaid.
With that in mind, it’s sensible to temporarily halt any unnecessary spending. That trip to the coffee shop each morning or last minute visit to town for some retail therapy may just have to wait while you use any cash surplus to pay off the Christmas debt.
A great tactic here is to promise yourself a reward once the debt is cleared, and because you’ll have halted life’s little pleasures during the repayment period, you’ll know exactly how to treat yourself!
Create a budget
In addition to the strategic approach we discussed earlier about debt repayment, it’ll be a good idea to start working from a personal budget (if you don’t already).
Add up all your earnings and outgoings (including the Christmas debt repayments) and work out exactly what you have available to spend on life’s essentials (and some fun – there’s no need to cancel all of your social plans).
Personal budgets are hard to work from at first, but become easier the more you stick to them. In fact, they can become pretty addictive and satisfying as you watch your debts fall and your disposable income slowly rise.
Being in debt is never any fun, but it’s particularly galling when it’s related to a time as joyous as Christmas. Use our tips above to get rid of that festive debt sooner than you thought possible.