For most people, Christmas is considered the most delightful time of year for both young and old. All of us are ecstatic to wind up the year of work or school and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. They don’t call it the silly season for nothing either. Eating and spending too much is the norm and it’s really easy to lose track of your savings and your waistline! Enjoying a hard-earned break is crucial for our psychological health, so it’s easy to overindulge in gifts and vacations during the festive season. But alas, the new year arrives soon enough and we can all start anew. Time to make some resolutions and prepare for the year in advance.

 

Before we realise it, we’re back in the same schedule. Work, school, bills, stress. But what if you’re in the position where you spent way too much throughout the festive season and now you’re in debt? Well, don’t be paniced, it happens to numerous people during this time of year. Fortunately we’ve got some recommendations on how you can successfully repay your Christmas debts in a timely fashion.

 

Make a list of your debts

 

The very first step in repaying your Christmas debts is to understand how much you owe. Take a pen and paper and list all the debts you have, coupled with the creditor’s, interest rates, next repayment date and repayment amounts. Aim to be conservative here and list every single debt you have, irrespective of how big or small. When you’ve determined your repayment amounts, you’ll have to devise a plan on paying off the principal, which brings us to our next recommendation.

 

Make Plan

 

Don’t forget that debts consist of both interest repayments and principals. Paying the interest only will doing nothing long-term, so when you’ve figured out your repayment amounts, the next step is to create a plan on paying off the principal. It’s always best to focus on the highest interest rate debts to start with which will save you money over time. Interest on loans are a formidable force and can maim your finances if you don’t take care. You similarly may want to list your income streams also so you can calculate how much will be left over for living expenses. This will assist you in our next tip, creating a budget.

 

Budget

 

To make sure that you can continue to enjoy the year ahead, you’ll need to clear your Christmas debt within the first quarter of the year, so creating a budget and adhering to it is imperative. If you’ve had difficulty following a budget previously, there are lots of great smartphone apps that can help you with sustaining your budget. Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun either. There are loads of free and low-cost activities available, you just need to change your perspective and don’t let your Christmas debt take control of your life.

 

Save, save, save

 

Although it may sound apparent, the simplest way to pay off debt is to grow your savings and stay away from unnecessary expenses. You might like to stop eating in restaurants once a week which can save you a surprising amount of money. Or you can catch public transport to work to save money on gas. If you feel inclined, cut up your credit cards! Do whatever you have to do to save money – being frugal is very important. Get in control of your expenditures and save as much as possible; you don’t want your holiday debt hangover to continue until next Christmas!

 

Track your progress

 

Evaluate your progression each month to discover how well your plan is performing. You might need to make some changes if required, and you’ll have a better idea of what changes are realistic based on the past month’s efforts. If you’re being super disciplined and have over-performed, then reward yourself to celebrate your success. A reward doesn’t need to cost an extravagant amount of money, but it will increase your motivation to stick to your plan in times of need. By budgeting and tracking your progress, you’ll have better financial skills and hopefully won’t be stuck in the same position next Christmas!

 

If you can’t manage your debts, seek advice immediately

 

If you’ve genuinely tried to at least reduce your debts in a timely fashion and haven’t been successful, you may be experiencing financial hardship. Rather than waiting and paying an increasing amount of interest, it’s better to seek advice from the experts before your situation becomes worse. There are many options available for those in financial hardship and they vary depending on your individual circumstances. For a confidential discussion on how to effectively manage your debts, call Bankruptcy Albury on 1300 818 575 or visit http://www.bankruptcy-albury.com.au/