The holidays can put a damper on anyone, especially trying to make sense of it all financially. There are parties, gifts and then events that are held that you are expected? to attend. Secret Santa gift exchanges, the list of financial drains on the average person is huge. There are gifts you received last year that you know you should buy for that person this year. Then along comes the New Year, and an expensive night out. By the time you come around to January and take stock of it all, your credit cards have long since cried Uncle.
You may have declared surrender for this year. But some things to keep in mind for next year are: Realistic Goals: Most people make a new years resolution, but the most important one is to have realistic financial goals. It is helpful to aim for a specific target, such as setting a goal of paying off $300 dollars in debt by the first of March. Even if you don’t meet your goal target, you can then start to set your goals slightly less until you are challenged, but still able to meet your targeted goals. Tighten the Wallet: Everyone loves to be generous, but take a look at your spending, perhaps its time for a small reality check.
Start tracking your expenses a little bit at a time, and you will find that by cutting out on some small items, you will save a lot. You can save a great deal if you eliminate trips to the mall and other impulse buying. It all goes a long ways toward paying off the credit card bills.
Avoid Card Hopping: We have all seen the offers, free interest for a year, no interest no payments till the year 3000, the list goes on and one. But while it does make sense sometimes to transfer to a different card with a different rate, most credit card offers that are too good to be true- are too good to be true. Period. Be sure and read the BACK of credit card offers, and all the fine print, some offers are fantastic but if you violate one small element of the deal even by accident you are then locked into draconian levels of payment and interest.
Card Hopping is recorded on your credit rating, and if lenders see you transferring large amounts often it is viewed as a possible sign of risk. It can literally affect getting a loan down the road. Plan a Strategy: Figure out which debt is the most costly, and try to retire that debt first. No matter the plan, try to make one and stick to it. Savings: Try to work out a level of savings, a little at a time. It all adds up.