7 Strategies to Get Your Holiday Debt Under Control
The last presents have been unwrapped and the New Year’s champagne has been popped. If you didn't budget wisely or simply got caught up in the spirit of giving, your holiday spending may soon be causing headaches when the bills begin to arrive.
Here are seven strategies to catch up before your credit takes a hit:
View the big picture. You can’t make a payback plan if you don’t know the total damage. Tally up each of your credit card bills, set a date for repayment in full (example: three months) and divide the total by the number of months. Now you have a rough amount — minus the interest, of course — that you’ll need to set aside each month to meet your repayment goal.
Prioritize wisely. Sort your bills by interest rate and line up the costliest ones for repayment first. Why accelerate paying off a low-interest loan when a store charge card might be costing you 21% or more in monthly interest?
Pay more than the minimum. Credit card issuers generally calculate minimum payments as a percentage of your total balance — the higher it is, the greater the required payment to stay current and not incur late fees or penalties. Set a goal for paying more than the minimum to accelerate your debt reduction and reduce your overall costs. Shoot for doubling the monthly minimum due if you can.
Consolidate your debt. If you have a decent credit rating, you’re likely getting offers to transfer existing balances onto a new card with a low (or even 0%) introductory interest rate. Be sure to note on your calendar when the low-interest period expires so you can be sure to pay off the balance on time.
Make small lifestyle changes. Now that you have a big-picture view of your finances, look for opportunities to save that can quickly add up. For example, if you subscribe to multiple streaming services, calculate which channel’s shows you view most frequently and drop the others. If you have a cable TV package, contact your cable company and see if you can get a reduced monthly rate for the same (or better) package; they may be glad to accommodate you rather than lose your business to a competitor.
Join the gig economy. Do you have a skill you can put to work on a part-time basis? Join the more than four million Americans who do freelance work or work a “side gig” in addition to their regular job. Whether you’re driving for a ridesharing company, tutoring students, stocking shelves, or using your expertise or special talent to make some extra money, you can dedicate your part-time earnings to paying off your credit card debt.
Live on your 2018 income. If you’re among the lucky employees who receive an annual cost-of-living increase (typically 2% or so), consider funneling the additional money directly into a savings account dedicated for bill paying. Once your 2018 holiday expenses are paid off, continue the practice so you have a head start on 2019 gift purchases.
Making your money work harder for you
Whether it’s during the holidays or all year long, managing credit card debt can be difficult for many people — especially those on a fixed income. If you’re faced with unexpected expenses, you should have a plan in place to free up funds when you need them most.
One effective but often-overlooked strategy for older adults is borrowing against the equity in your home using what’s known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage loan. Exclusively available to homeowners and homebuyers age 62 and older, a HECM can give you access to funds that you can use today, or a line of credit that will be there whenever you need it, while you continue to live in and own your home.
Harnessing the power of home equity can help you gain greater financial flexibility and security. You can use the funds to pay off high-interest credit cards, cover daily living expenses, pay for healthcare, consolidate debt to reduce monthly bills, make home renovations or repairs, or even establish a “rainy day” fund for emergencies.
To determine if a HECM could be right for you, speak with an experienced reverse mortgage specialist at Reverse Mortgage Funding. Call (888) 277-1567 today to set up a convenient phone appointment.
SEE WHAT FUNDS YOU MAY HAVE AVAILABLE
If you have equity in your home and believe you meet the eligibility requirements, a HECM may be the option that could help you retire smart.
This content is sponsored by RMF, one of the nation’s leading reverse mortgage lenders. We are dedicated to helping older Americans live the retirement lifestyle that they imagined and deserve, in the comfort of their own home. As a result of our commitment to providing an extraordinary and positive customer experience, we have earned a 98% customer satisfaction rating;* a 5-star / Excellent score on Trustpilot; 4.8 out of 5 stars on LendingTree; and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call (888) 277-1567 to speak with a licensed reverse mortgage specialist to learn about our retirement financing products and solutions.
*Source: RMF customer survey, December 2018.
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