Christmas is called the silly season for more than one reason. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all especially in regards to the joy of gift giving.
A study conducted by RateCity last week found that over half of the people surveyed were going to use their credit cards for all their Christmas purchases. Whilst most of those people were going to pay back monies owed within the interest free period, there were still many who did not know how long it would take to pay off and had no plan to tackle it.
If you did not have a plan in place for the 2012 Christmas period and you have racked up a nice tidy debt here are 5 ways to get rid of it in the New Year.
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Sell unwanted gifts
Two items spring to mind that I have been given in the past. One was this psychedelic coaster set with mirror ball coating and black patterns. I’m sorry but that design should have been left in the 70s. The second was this reflective black PVC crocodile skin like bag I was given. Not sure what one of my friends was thinking when she gave me that-it was something you would find in a crappy dollar store.
So these two might not bring in the big bucks but you have three options. One is to put it in the bottom of the drawer collecting dust. The second is to throw it out and the third is sell them and make money from them-you didn’t pay for them so make a few extra dollars.
Go without for January
Even if you cut out some items from your expenditure for just one month, you could save a fair amount and chuck it straight onto your debt. I’m thinking coffees, meals out, cocktails at the bar, magazines, manicures, haircuts-whatever you can think of to go without for a while.
Many of you will probably be on holidays and whether this is at home or in some tropical destination try and cut down. Set a budget for your holidays and try and find things to do which will not cost you money.
Start an every second week strategy
Aside from your must have expenses like travel to work, try and start your expenses on a fortnightly basis. This means cutting your weekly supermarket trip to every second week. If you run out of food live off what is in the cupboard.
It is quite amazing how much you actually have in the pantry and fridge which does not get used. Otherwise it only sits there collecting dust or mould.
Bring this every second week into all aspects-it might get tight but all the extra money you save can go straight onto that credit card.
Set up your debt reduction team
This means getting everyone you can to pull together to tackle your debt whether it is your partner, kids or even your dog. Every single person will have different ways they can cut out expenses all of which can lead to lump sums that can be used for the debt.
It is much easier to have a collective team effort towards the debt, than shouldering the burden on your own.
Hold a garage sale or do an eBay marathon
This is where you can put selling your unwanted gifts into action. Don’t restrict it just to this, scour your house for every single thing that you do not want or need anymore and sell, sell, sell. It is amazing that something that is useless to you will be wanted by someone else-remember the saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”.
And seriously it works-I have never not sold everything I wanted to on eBay. Sometimes it takes two goes but I always end up making a tidy profit. This is also a great way to declutter your life/house/wardrobe and start 2013 afresh.
Whilst 2013 might have a small setback with your Christmas debt, you need to get atop of it so that you can move forward with your financial plans for the New Year. To avoid this happening again, start planning for the next Christmas so that you can avoid going into debt during the silly season.
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Alex Wilson is the founder and editor of Savings Guide, Australia’s number one saving money website. For regular money saving tips, visit Savings Guide or follow Savings Guide on Facebook.