The holidays have come and gone, and now many are left with the bill.
According to a Gallup poll ahead of the shopping season, Americans planned to spend an average of $942 on holiday gifts — not including food, travel, and other celebratory activities. What’s more, less than half of Americans reported going into the holiday with a budget. That means many are likely starting off 2020 in the red.
So if your New Year’s resolution is to wipe away your holiday debt by spring, or to have a plan for this year’s festivities, these tips are for you:
Roll Down Credit Card Debt
The roll down strategy is an effective way to tackle credit card debt spread across several cards.
In short, you put a priority on paying off the card with the highest interest rate first, while making minimum payments on the other cards. Once that’s paid off, you apply its monthly payment to the balance with the next highest rate, and so on.
Check out this Debt Calculator to see this strategy in action.
Start a Holiday Savings Account
With your SESLOC membership, you can open additional Share Savings that earn dividends and have no minimum balance or monthly fees. Open a secondary Share Savings specifically for holiday expenses, and set aside funds throughout the year. You can even set up automatic recurring transfers in Online Banking. Use this account to set your budget for your 2020 holiday shopping.
Take Advantage of Clearance Sales
If you ran low on wrapping paper or need to replace decorations, stores will be slashing their prices on these items over the next few weeks. If you have the space for storage, this is the cheapest time to buy the things that you were already planning to buy later in the year.
A thoughtful, homemade gift might take more of your time but can be much less expensive than a store-bought item. Even better? Homemade gifts tend to be more meaningful and memorable.
Another option is to redeem your rewards points for gifts. SESLOC Rewards earned with your HomeFREE Checking debit purchases can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, and travel experiences — there truly is something for everyone on your list.