Often times, people can get a little too excited during the holiday season and end up abusing their credit cards – partly because of convenience and partly due to poor planning. Here are a few tips on how to control your credit card use.
Hide your cards
If you have overused your plastic in December, hide the cards from yourself in January. You should take them out of your wallet and put them somewhere they can’t do any further harm.
If you are someone who is addicted to online shopping, here is something that you can do to avoid the temptation. Do not save your credit card information on the sites that you frequent most. This way, you will have to fill out online forms and submit your information again, which gives you time to think about what you are doing and not go through with it.
Make it hard to use your credit cards in January, possibly longer, by all means necessary.
Start tackling your debt
Now that you have resisted the urge to continue spending, it’s time to get serious about paying back what you owe. Your goal is to pay off all of the credit card debt you have incurred over the holidays by April, which believe it or not, is very possible if you tighten your budget a bit and watch your spending.
It’s always a good idea to make a plan and put it to paper. Calculate how much you owe and then divide that amount into achievable monthly installments. Keep a piece of paper with this information on it hanging on your refrigerator to remind you.
Prepare Early for Next Year
Once you have paid off your debts, it’s time to start saving for next year so that your next January can be more enjoyable. Put some money away every month in order to have a nice amount of cash waiting for you when the holiday season comes around again. You’d be surprised at how much $25.00 a week can add up to by the time December rolls around.
Having this fund at your disposal not only makes it easier to shop once the time comes, but it also helps you avoid taking out the plastic and falling back into those same old, bad holiday habits once again.
Don’t be tempted by post-holiday sales; find something else to do, something that’s preferably free. Many people are baited by sales in January and think that it’s a good idea to get a little more shopping in before reality sets in. Avoid the malls, avoid your favorite online stores, and avoid spending money on things you do not really need.
With proper planning and dedication to the cause, you will be able to quickly recover from your holiday financial crisis and start learning from your mistakes. Remember, you want to avoid repeating the same scenario next year.
Create a Spending Plan
1. Start the year with a spending plan to manage your monthly bills and control unneeded debt.
2. Review your plan monthly or more often, if possible.
3. Only spend money you have in your purse, pocket or bank account.