Christmas and New Year’s Day has already come and gone, leaving us to “look forward” to Blue Monday, the (unofficial) most depressing day of the year. In 2019, Blue Monday falls on Monday, January 21, and the day is calculated by factoring in things such as weather and, yes, debt level as people start to receive their credit card statements from December.
Maybe this year you – and your wallet – are feeling the blues from a holiday season of high-spending. Paying down your credit card debt may currently be your number one priority and your new year’s resolution is to be more fiscally responsible. So, instead of leaving your holiday planning to last minute and putting everything on credit, you’re going to plan ahead of time… starting now! It may sound unrealistic – who starts planning for Christmas is January? – but the only way to avoid a hangover is by taking preventative measures. Drink a lot of water and follow these simple steps to never have a debt-plagued January again.
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Use last year’s spending to plan this year’s budget
You have all of the receipts and bills in front of you, so now is the best time to review exactly how much you spent on gifts, food, and other expenses over the holiday season. Use these figures to make your budget for next year and see where you could cut a few corners.
Start saving, now
Now that you have a number to work towards, you can start putting aside a little bit of money each month to reach that goal. Open up a savings account that’s specifically for holiday spending. It may sound over the top, but you could save up the money faster than you expected.
Smaller or online-based banks are more likely to have higher interest rates because they have lower operating costs, which enables them to pass on savings to the consumer. While it currently has no physical locations, EQ Bank offers one of the highest interest rates on a savings account in the entire country – coming in at 2.3 per cent.
You may soon have more than enough for the holidays, with a little extra money to put towards a special purchase or a trip.
If you find that your current earnings aren’t enough to cover the savings, this is also a good time to look at earning some extra money. Declutter your house and plan to have a spring yard sale in March, take on a few extra hours at work or start your own side business.
Buy holiday stuff NOW
Many retailers are slashing the prices on their holiday goods, so now is the perfect time to stock up. This is especially true for small items such as wrapping paper, cards, and decorations.
It’s only been a couple of weeks since Christmas, so you probably have a good idea of who you needs gifts this year. If your list doesn’t look like it’ll change too much, keep an eye out for gifts throughout the year. For example, buy winter gear for your family at end-of-winter sales. Also look out for sales on baking supplies, such as flour and sugar, and, if possible, buy in bulk a few months preceding the holidays.
Plan a low-budget Christmas with friends and family
The holidays don’t have to be about spending tons of money! Have a chat with your family and friends about how to keep costs low next Christmas. Plan a gift exchange with your family and a dinner out with your friends.
The holiday season is all about spending… time with the people you love. And when January rolls around, those feelings of joy and love may turn into feelings of disappointment and dreariness due to post-holiday debt. Make it a bit easier on yourself by taking a few moments to make a plan and follow some of these tips.
This post has been updated.