Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Offers Money Management Tips to Reduce Debt After the Holidays

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Soon the holiday greeting cards will be replaced by holiday bills. Then what? Money management will be the key to gain control of finances for those who ran up holiday debt.

Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt (Wiley & Sons, 2005).

Soon the holiday greeting cards will be replaced by holiday bills. Then what? Money management will be the key to gain control of finances for those who ran up holiday debt.

One of the top New Years resolutions for Americans is to get out of debt and to better manage their money.
Currently, consumer debt is at an all time high and many people are still paying off their credit cards from last Christmas.

"Many people do not plan their holiday spending, even though it is a major annual expense," said Howard Dvorkin, Founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. and author of "Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt (Wiley & Sons, 2005). "As a result, these expenses often end up on credit cards that can take well into the New Year to pay off."

If you overspent at the holidays, try these tips to [reduce debt.

  • Stop using your credit and charge cards. Use cash when possible to pay for food, clothes, utilities, rent/mortgage and other necessities. Keep your credit card charges to a minimum until you pay off your holiday debt.
  • Add up your holiday charges. On a sheet of paper or with the use of a computer spreadsheet program, create columns for each credit card, the amount outstanding and the annual percentage rate. This will tell you how much money you owe.
  • Develop a repayment plan. Decide how much money you can devote each month to pay down your holiday debt. Look for ways to shave expenses to set aside an extra $50, $75 or $100 a month to reduce your holiday debt. You might consider reducing long-distance calls, eliminating subscriptions and eating out less often. You could also have a garage sale or get a part-time job.
  • Stick to your plan. Pay off the credit cards with the highest interest rates first. You might also investigate the possibility of transferring bills to credit cards with lower interest rates.
  • Create a plan for the 2008 holiday season. One of the major causes of holiday debt is a lack of planning. Consider opening a holiday account to save for the holidays in 2007. Use your 2006 expenses as a starting point for what you will need in 2007. Take the time to prioritize what it most important to you and look for areas to shave costs, such as entertaining less or giving home-made gifts.

During the holidays, it's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and spend beyond your means. If this happened to you, treat this as a learning experience and resolve to do better this year. If you need help, call Consolidated Credit at 1-800-728-3632 for free financial advice.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services mission is to help people end financial crisis and solve money problems through education and professional counseling. Consolidated is an industry leader providing credit counseling and debt management services throughout the United States. Consolidated is a non-profit agency that has helped thousands of individuals and families deal with life-altering credit, debt, and financial issues.

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