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Holiday Debt Woes

Posted by: Chris Cook, CPA, MBA on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 12:00:00 am

Now that the Holidays are over, it is now time for those credit card bills to arrive and the determination of what was actually spent on holiday gifts become reality. 

As many Americans utilize credit cards to purchase gifts during the holidays and other items all year long, the repayment of that debt is always a challenge.  The excitement of the holiday season is over and the stress rises.  We use credit cards either as a convenience or because the cash is not available when we want.  Then the credit card bill arrives and we have a choice to make, pay the minimum payment and payoff the credit card in about ten years or try to make payments to reduce the balance more rapidly.  The following are a few suggestions to make the credit card debt go away and then utilize cash for the next holiday season or purchase.

  1. Have a plan and try to determine a reasonable payback period.  The quicker you pay off credit card debt, the more money you will save.  If you have $500 on a credit card and pay the minimum payment, you will end up paying over $1,200 when you eventually pay off the credit card ten years from now.  If you payback in three months, your total payback would be approximately $518. (Assuming 21% credit card rate)
    1. Use our calculator in our Financial Education Center to find out how long it will take to pay off your credit card.
    2. Once the credit card is paid off, use the payment you were making to create savings.  This will then allow you to use cash for your 2012 holiday purchases without having to resort to credit cards.
While this is easier said than done, it takes discipline.  And we’re here to help. Every year we make New Year’s resolutions, but if we are not disciplined it is very hard to stick to those resolutions.  Let’s chat. Maybe we can work together to come up with a game plan to help you pay down your debt.  Go ahead… make 2012 a year that you take control of your finances instead of your finances controlling you.
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