On Your Side: How to best tackle Christmas debt

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Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 5:37 PM CST
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Ignoring all your credit card debt from the holidays won't just make it go away. On Your Side can help you make a plan.

If your wallet has a holiday hangover here's what you can do about it.

First, sit down. Review everything and write down what you owe. Money experts say figure out which bills have the highest interest rate.

"If you didn't have to pay interest what would your payments look like? Which sometimes can be a big difference especially if we are talking about a large balance that they accumulated over the Christmas season," said Darline Mabins with Arvest Bank.

Know your interest and principal amount. You want to tackle the card with the highest interest first. If this is going to take you several months or a few years to pay off, you might want to considered a personal loan or transfer that debt onto a zero percent interest credit card.

"While most people are thinking 'I want to get rid of the debt', getting it at zero percent for even a year is better than paying a larger rate on your existing card. At least keep that interest down and make sure your money is going toward that balance in full.

Here are three things to remember during this process.

1. Loan applications can impact your credit score, but so can credit card debt.

2. If you used store cards during the holidays make sure you know when promotions end and interest kicks in.

3. Online lenders can offer competitive deals, but sometimes they can lack in customer service for not having a brick and mortar location.

Finally, take this time to start saving for next Christmas so you won't have do this again. Every little bit help.

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