Finance Quick Answers
I put all of my holiday expenses on my credit cards, and now I owe a lot of money. What can I do to avoid this next year?
Credit card bills filling your mailbox? Taking control of debt can seem daunting but if you’re still paying off holiday season purchases it is time to turn your financial life around.
- Be realistic – getting out of debt takes time.
- Plan your attack – lock the credit cards in your safe deposit box if you need to or hang a payment chart on your refrigerator to track your progress. To achieve the maximum savings, pay as much as you can on the card with the highest interest rate while paying the minimum on the others.
- Call your credit card issuer for a lower interest rate.
- Get a head start on next holiday season by saving all year long or putting things in perspective. First, ask yourself and your family what is the most satisfying aspect of the season? Many of your best holiday memories are likely the least expensive. Then ask yourself if you want to be faced with a large credit card debt this time next year.
Sandra McKinnon, Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Cynthia E. Crawford, Ph.D., Consumer & Family Economics Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
Last update: Tuesday, July 15, 2008