American Gateway Bank's Blog

Paying Off That Holiday Debt

It's the beginning of January, some of us haven't taken down our Christmas decorations yet and this month's credit card statement is already in the mailbox.  Go ahead, take a look at it.  Let's hope the damage is not all too horrible.  With the interest rates on credit cards these days, most consumers need to pay-off their cards as soon as possible.  I know you are thinking to yourself, but how am I going to pay this off as soon as possible?  Here are a few suggestions on just how to get rid of that holiday debt:

  1. Make weekly payments.  You can use your bank's online bill pay service to make weekly payments to your credit cards.  It may be easier for you to send in an extra $50.00 a week instead of sending an extra $200.00 as your regular monthly payment.
  2. Use your Christmas Bonus.  Yes, there are some people out there who still get a Christmas Bonus.  Instead of using that money on a short-lived thrill item, use it to pay-off some of that holiday debt.
  3. Sell unwanted Christmas gifts.  I'm not talking garage sale here.  Today there are many websites out there to sell unwanted items.  Most of them allow you to sell the items for little or no charge to you.  Why keep an item you are not going to use?  Sell it and get good money for it.  There are even websites that allow you to sell unwanted gift cards. Don't keep something you will not use.
  4. Change your spending habits.  Well at least change them for the short term - until you have the credit card debt paid-off.  That $5.00-a-day Starbucks habit that you have totals $125.00 during a normal work month and could be going to your credit card debt.  And bring lunch to work.  If you save the $7.00 that you normally would spend each day for lunch, that could be an extra $175.00 going towards your credit card balances each month.  These are just two small ways to change spending habits in the short term.  But who knows?...You may like these changes and continue to save the extra money.
  5. Look for ways to earn extra money.  Is there any way you can work a few more hours each week?  Do you have a service you can offer that someone else would be willing to pay for?

Hopefully, you can conquer your credit card balance before Black Friday 2014 and you won't be back in this same situation again next year.  It's always best to only give what you can afford, but we all know that is a little hard at times.  American Gateway Bank offers a Christmas Club Account.  With this account you have money automatically drafted from your checking account weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or however often you choose.  The money is held in the "savings" account until a check is sent to you in October, just in time for your holiday shopping.  So let's get the debt paid-off, get a Christmas Club Account opened and then you don't have to dread going to the mailbox next January.

Posted by Edwin Lagarde at 12:34