The holidays are a magical time of year, but they are also a time of irresponsible spending. Many drive themselves into debt with the price of presents, decorations, vacations and other holiday expenses. If you have gotten yourself into this situation, there are various strategies that can help you reduce your debt.
Earn more income
One way to reduce debt is to have more money coming in. You might be able to look for a job. Some companies that would normally hire all year long put it off in December because they are so busy with the holidays. Look online at websites such as www.monster.com, in newspaper classified ads and in other sources where you may find jobs. You can also ask for more hours at your current job.
You may also be able to find some seasonal work. For instance, you may find a job at a ski resort. Even though the holidays are over, many people still vacation in the winter, especially to warmer destinations such as Florida. You may be able to find a job if you live near a tourist area that sees vacationers in the winter.
You can also look to freelance work. For instance, if you are a writer, then you can look to do freelance writing at a website such as www.helium.com. If you live in an area where it snows, then you can shovel snow for your neighbors for a little extra money. Consider all different ways in which you may be able to make more.
Another way to earn money is to sell things. Many people get an influx of new items during the holiday season. This may be the perfect time to go through your possessions and have a yard sale or sell items on ebay or on craigslist. If you got a present for the holidays that you did not like and they gave you a gift receipt, then you may be able to return it. If you got gift cards as presents, then use them for practical things that you need. If you got a gift card that you do not need, then you may be able to sell it and get some more money that way. If people gave you money as gifts, then you can put that towards your debt.
Make a budget
Even if your goal is to earn more money and spend less after the holiday season, this can be difficult to implement if you do not keep track of everything. You want to make a serious budget. The first step in this is knowing exactly where you are at. Know how much money you have and where it is.
You now want to make a plan for paying off your debt. You can get help through online tools such as at http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/debtplanner/debtplanner.jsp. Figure out how much you have to spend a month and put them into necessary expenditures and things you would like to spend on. Make sure that you set aside money to reduce your debt. Try to be realistic in your budget and account for unexpected costs that might come up. Make an effort to stick to it. If you spend too much on one line item then reduce your spending on another.
You can help reduce your debt by spending less, and there are a myriad of ways to do so. Since it is the winter many people spend a lot on heating costs. You may be able to save by dressing warmer so that the heat can be on a little less. Make sure that you turn off lights and electrical items like the television when you are not using them.
Try to spend less on other items. Only buy what you need. Do not window shop if you will not be able to help yourself. Go into stores with a list and be efficient in your shopping without browsing. Shop at discount sources like Target and Costco. Buy in bulk. Use coupons. Look for sales. Many stores clearance out items after the holidays. If there is something that you need, then you can look for deals in that way.
You may want to cook and eat in instead of eating out. You may have overindulged during the holidays, anyways, thus this can be a good way to eat healthier and save money.
Post-holiday debt is not uncommon, and it is important to reduce it as soon as possible in order to avoid a downward spiral. The above tips can help get you back on track.