Surviving the Holiday Spending Trap With Debt Counseling

Jeanne McTaggartDebt

Debt Counseling

After the school season starts, many people start getting ready for the holidays. Following Labor Day, the major holidays that often run up debt for the average American include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. By receiving debt counseling in the fall, you gain valuable insights and information about how to pay off debt, budget, and set financial goals. You may decide to enroll in a debt management program so you can get a fresh start. A debt management plan is an agreement to pay back creditors, but typically with better terms. In most cases, you pay less money toward interest and pay off your debt much faster by consolidating the debt. To save money for the holiday season, consider consolidating old debt while resisting the temptation to take on any new debt. According to an article by marketwatch.com, one of the best way to tackle holiday credit card debt is to lower your interest rate. Talk to a credit counselor about how you can pay a lower interest rate by consolidating debt.

Living below your Financial Means

One of the lessons you learn with debt counseling is to live below your means. By having a budget, you know exactly what you owe to creditors, what you owe to the mortgage company or your landlord as well as how much you have for discretionary spending. Buying holiday gifts or costumes for Halloween and other parties is not a necessity. However, you can put aside money for gifts as long as you save some money for discretionary purchases. Living below your means does not mean you can’t spend money on others, but it’s about spending less than you earn.

Figuring out how much your time is worth

Another way to improve your financial situation is figuring out when you should do something yourself or when you should hire another person. If you can earn more money working at your career, it could make financial sense to pay someone else to clean your house, mow your lawn or cook for you. On other hand, you also have to think about your core values as well as hobbies. If you get exercise from mowing and love the outdoors, it’s more than a financial decision. When it comes to the holidays, save money by making your own costumes if it makes sense. If you earn a lot by working, consider hiring someone else to put up your holiday lights or deliver your Christmas tree.

Spending time and not money with family

If you are having trouble balancing your budget, avoid hosting holiday parties or buying a lot of gifts for others. Taking holiday trips also tends to run up credit cards. On the other hand, if you consolidate your debt prior to the holidays, you will have a firm grasp on how much money you have leftover in your monthly budget after paying on your debt management plan.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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