Scared of the Monster (Debt) Lurking In Your Finances?

monster under bed

Halloween may be over but being in a lot of debt can be a scary thing, and all that holiday season spending won’t help. If your personal finances are starting to feel like a horror story, consider some of these ideas to slay the debt beast (or at least tame it).

Think About a Second Job

If you’re not earning enough money at your regular job, there are many ways to put your interests and talents to work for extra money. Do you play the guitar? Why not give guitar lessons? Are you good at sewing? Offer services for clothes alterations, or make some holiday themed items to sell.    

Sell Items You Don’t Need Anymore

Speaking of selling, if you’re surrounded by growing piles of unused items at your home, remember that your trash can be another person’s treasure. Depending on what you’re selling there are several ways to find buyers, including garage sales, consignment shops, online sites like eBay and Craigslist, and even word of mouth. Or you could trade items with other people, rather than spending the money on something new.  
Places to buy and sell used items, from USA Today

Clean Up Your Automatic Payments

It’s easy to go on auto pilot when it comes to bills that are paid automatically. Unfortunately, if you aren’t paying attention those bills can lead to paying for things you don’t need, as well as overdraft fees if your account balance goes negative. Look at your monthly credit union and bank statements to see where your automatic payments are going, and then get rid of the things you don’t need. For instance, if you only use the gym a few times a month, maybe taking up running and buying some hand weights to work out at home makes better sense than paying for a membership you don’t use.
Best ways to use automatic payments.

Don’t Overspend

They say hindsight is 20-20. Looking back, maybe you didn’t need those $300 pair of jeans or that $1,000 espresso machine, because you probably couldn’t afford them in the first place. According to 38% of Americans had already gone into debt due to holiday spending at the start of December 2014.
Debt after the holidays is like the ghost of Christmas past, constantly nagging and reminding you. Don’t let that happen to you. Start the holidays with a budget and stick to it. If you do need a little extra money, consider a low rate personal loan at a set amount, instead of using your high rate credit card with abandon.

Something else to consider for next year’s holiday season is to start saving early with something like a Christmas Club account, where  you make unlimited deposits throughout the year and then the funds are disbursed just in time for holiday shopping.

Have a tip on other ways to avoid the horror of excess holiday debt? We’d love to hear from you on our social channels!