Consider deleting apps that make it easier for you to spend more than necessary (goodbye food delivery apps … at least for now). You can also look into temporarily freezing certain memberships, such as your gym or grocery delivery service. And look for other subscriptions that can be canceled, or at least downgraded. For example, you may not want to give up your Hulu subscription, but you could at least switch to a cheaper plan with commercials until your finances are in better shape.
You can only scrimp and save so much; increasing your income is another way to come up with extra cash without sacrificing your standard of living.
For example, if you've been performing well at your job, it might be time to negotiate a raise. Or if your current job pays overtime, consider offering to work extra hours.
You could also use your professional skills to freelance or consult in your spare time. Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr can help you find gigs. If you're crafty or artistic, consider selling your creations online through various consumer platforms or at local craft fairs and markets.
There are ways to earn more income without working more hours, too. If you have a spare room or an extra parking space, for instance, consider renting it out. This can be particularly lucrative if you live in a high-demand area.
Prioritize Debt Repayment
If you have several debts, it's important to focus your efforts strategically. Start by listing all your debts, including their balances, interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. Ensure you make at least the minimum payments on all your debts to avoid penalties and negative impacts on your credit score.
Then focus on paying off debts with the highest interest rates first while continuing to make minimum payments on other debts. This method, known as the “debt avalanche," saves you the most in interest costs over time. Alternatively, you can start by paying off the smallest debts first while making minimum payments on the larger ones. This approach is called the “debt snowball" and can provide psychological wins that help motivate you as you see debts being fully paid off. However, it's often not the most cost-effective option. (See debt consolidation below.)
Look Into Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to pay off multiple existing debts. Once these debts are consolidated, you have just one monthly payment to worry about. And ideally, the new loan will have a lower interest rate compared to the average rate on your existing debts, helping you pay off the balance faster and save money in the process.
There are a few ways to go about debt consolidation. One popular option is to take out a personal loan and use the proceeds to pay off your other debts. You can also take advantage of a balance transfer credit card, which allows you to transfer existing credit card balances to a single card, ideally one with a promotional 0% APR period. During the promotional period, 100% of your payments will go toward paying down the principal balance, and you'll avoid racking up new interest charges. Once the intro period is over, however, the rate reverts to the normal purchase rate.
Overcoming the post-holiday financial blues requires a proactive and strategic approach. Remember, you're not alone in facing this challenge; many find themselves in a similar situation after the festive season.
By following some of these debt payoff tips, you can effectively tackle holiday-induced financial stress. The key is to stay focused, be patient and remember that financial recovery is a journey, not a sprint. So, wave goodbye to your holiday debt and hello to a more financially savvy you. With these tools in hand, you're well-equipped to turn those post-holiday money blues into a fresh start for the New Year.