Holiday Bills Fill the Mailbox

Advice from Consolidated Credit Counseling Services on the Best Way to Tackle the Payback

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla– Soon the holiday greeting cards will be replaced by holiday bills. Everyone loves the holidays, but no one is happy when they see their post-holiday credit card bills. Many people are eager to buy gifts and entertain, but they don’t think about how much debt they are accruing.

Money management will be the key to gain control of finances for those who ran up holiday debt. For those consumers who are in debt, it’s not impossible to pay it off if they commit to implementing a payment strategy. Consolidated Credit’s steps to get out of debt after the holidays are:

•Add up your holiday charges. Make a list of all credit card accounts and include the account number, interest rate, outstanding balance, payment due date, credit limit and the minimum payment due each month. Not only does this keep things organized but it prevents bills from being late or unaccounted for.

•Stop using your credit and charge cards. Use cash when possible to pay for food, clothes, utilities, rent/mortgage and other necessities. Keep your credit card charges to a minimum until you pay off your holiday debt.

•Develop a repayment plan. Look for ways to shave expenses to set aside an extra $50, $75 or $100 a month to reduce your holiday debt. You might consider reducing long-distance calls, eliminating subscriptions and eating out less often. You could also have a garage sale or get a part-time job.

•Pay highest interest rate debt first. Start by paying more, as much as you possibly can, over the minimum required on the highest interest rate credit card. Additional money must be used to pay off this credit card. In the meantime, pay the minimum required on all other credit cards. Once the highest interest credit card is paid off, tackle the next high rate credit card and so on.

•Create a plan for the 2013 holiday season. One of the major causes of holiday debt is a lack of planning. Consider opening a holiday account to save for the 2013 holidays. Use your 2012 expenses as a starting point for what you will need next year. Take the time to prioritize what is most important to you and look for areas to cut costs, such as entertaining less or giving home-made gifts.

During the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and spend beyond your means. If this happened to you, treat this as a learning experience and resolve to do better this year. If you need help, call Consolidated Credit at for free financial advice.