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  Category: Articles » Finance » Personal Finance » Article

A look at the ways to pull yourself out of holiday debt

By Martin McAllister

With the holiday season over, many people now turn their attention towards the problem of paying for their festive spending. With an estimated record 33 billion having been spent over the Christmas period, it can be a good idea to formulate a plan to help pay for your purchases. There are several ways in which sensible planning can help ease the burden of heavy credit card bills dropping through letterboxes.

For example, it can be a good idea to look the interest rates that your credit cards have and look to try to pay off those that have the highest rates. Alternatively, it might be possible to transfer your credit-card balances onto a lower-rate credit card. There are several credit cards on the market that offer excellent interest rates on balance transfers for fixed periods of time, so it can often be beneficial to shop around for the best deals and rates available. When this isn't possible you may find that loans available from high street banks can beat the rate you are currently paying as banking is a highly competitive market.

However, it's not usually a good idea to pay off debt with more debt so it may be best to avoid taking out another form of credit in order to pay off your existing debts. In many cases, you might actually end up paying out more money that you would normally. So whatever bills you ran up during the holiday season, make sure you make your payments on time, and if possible, make more than the minimum payment. Late payments can impact on your credit file and create difficulties in obtaining a favourable rate for any future credit, and sometimes can stop you obtaining any credit at all!

Perhaps you received a Christmas bonus in your salary? If so, using the extra money to help pay off some of the outstanding balance is a sensible course of action. The same can be said for any gift money received as using extra money can often help lessen the strain on your finances.

If you find yourself in serious financial difficulties and you are struggling to make repayments, it may help to contact your creditors and explain the situation. Some companies will be happy to accept a lesser payment, rather than receive nothing at all while you get back on a good financial footing. Others may pass your case onto a debt collection agency, where you can often negotiate a lower monthly payment or in some cases a lesser settlement. Or perhaps you could take advantage of some confidential debt consultation; there are several debt consultation and negotiation companies that can help you to manage your debt. But beware; some companies charge a fee for their services.

Many people spend more than they intended to over the holiday period; sometimes without thinking how they will pay back what they owe. However, by formulating a plan to help pay for your festive holiday spending, you can ease the burden of holiday debt considerably.
About the Author
Martin McAllister is a freelance online journalist. He lives in Scotland.

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