How to Thrive When the Christmas Gift Bills Start Arriving in January
OK, so you spent a bit more than you intended to on Christmas gifts, entertaining, and treating yourself to some holiday cheer as well. There is no sense in pushing down the feelings of anxiety that keep threatening to rise within you because of the overspending. Rather than telling yourself that you will deal with the problem in January when you have to face it, start setting yourself up to succeed even with a load of bills due to arrive.
Credit card companies will often work with you if you take the time to call them. Tell them you are interested in consolidating your credit cards if they can offer you an attractive interest rate in comparison to what you now have. By asking you may find yourself with not only a lower interest rate, but the ability to transfer your other debts under that same rate.
You might be able to get approval to skip one month’s payment which will allow you to get your feet under you and work hard at staying in line with your other debts. Call the credit card company and ask for an extension. At the very least they will say no and then you are in the same position you were before you called — so there is nothing to lose and much to gain.
Look for other ways that you can save money on your usual bills and use that money to pay off your current credit debt. An often overlooked expenditure is your car insurance. Car insurance providers send you renewals every year or six months and you often let the renewal kick in without looking at it closely. Those renewals usually have an increase — even if you didn’t file a claim in the last term. Shop around for a new policy that can save you money. It may not be a substantial amount, but what you save can be applied to your debt. Keep in mind that if you don’t shop around for a more affordable policy, then you are simply paying more than you have to pay. Consider calling your provider and tell them you want a deduction or you are switching policies. If you keep taking increased renewals term after term it adds up quickly — you may be surprised at how much you can save simply by getting a new insurance policy or asking your present provider to reduce your premium.
If you have cable television or internet, there too you could save money. Let them know that you are interested in a special deal. Currently all of those types of service providers, including mobile phone service providers, have special deals. You might have to extend your contract or enter into a new one, but if it saves you money and you plan on keeping the service then why not consider it? Don’t be tempted to buy a new phone or increase your service level. This process is about easing your stress and saving you money, not spending more money.
When you are putting away the Christmas decorations start looking around your home for things you no longer need or use. Consider putting clothes into a consignment shop or sell them directly through another source. You can do the same with furnishings, books, videos, and other items that can pile up and take up space. Get together with others and have a winter yard sale or garage sale. You will have less competition than you would have in the spring, but die hard bargain hunters will still show up. It’s a perfect way to unclutter your home and get some extra money to pay off debt.
You may be exhausted now and it may seem out of the question, but consider a part-time job. Working college students will be going back to school and also many people will be abandoning their seasonal jobs. It’s a great opportunity to pick up some part-time work and extra money. January is busy for retailers because they have returns, they are selling organizational supplies, and are trying to reduce inventory by offering major sales. Many will be taking inventory. They are looking for part-time workers and you need extra income. Getting a part-time job could be the answer you need. You don’t have to do it forever, but ask yourself if you would rather thrive and get out from under the pressure of your debt or have extra time on your hands.
Cut down on your usual expenditures. Take your lunch to work rather than going out. Make your own coffee in the mornings instead of going through the drive-thru. Don’t eat out, not even to hang out with friends until you get your bills paid. Don’t rent any movies and stick to what is free to watch on television. Cancel your streaming services and save money in several ways: 1) you won’t be paying for the subscription 2) when you do decide to go back you will be able to do so with discounted offers the streaming service offers to get you back.
Figure out what level of debt you want to erase. Put it up somewhere that you can see it and mark off each and every dollar you can subtract from the total. By keeping it in front of you and seeing your success, it will motivate you to take steps to make the changes you need to lower the debt. Perhaps you will be able to save money to stash away into an emergency fund.
Don’t feel deprived, left out, or ashamed of having to cut back, save money, and pay off debt. That’s what winners do — they set themselves up to succeed. Once you get your Christmas gift spending paid off, keep going. Do what you can to ease the stress caused by debt. By doing so you are setting yourself up for success and you are on the path to making 2016 the best year yet! Make it happen.
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