If you went above and beyond this holiday season, we don’t blame you. This year, everyone needed a bit of a pick-me-up. Now that the spending is over, it’s time to strap back down. Here’s how to recover from that holiday spending binge.
Sort Things Out
First things first — figure out exactly how much you owe. Go through your most recent credit union, bank and credit card statements to get a clear picture of what you’re dealing with.
Take a Breath
Perhaps, after you comb through your statements, you find that you went way overboard with holiday spending. Try not to beat yourself up about it. This too shall pass. Instead of shaming yourself, focus on your plan of action. And decide what you can do now to prevent it from happening again next year.
Pay Down Debt
If you turned to credit cards during the holiday season, tackle them first. You’ll want to pay down the debt on the card with the highest interest first, then work your way down. (We call this the avalanche.) As USA Today notes, if you have debt spread across several cards, you might want to consider transferring the debt to a single card and pay that down. You want to transfer the debt onto a card with low, or zero percent interest for at least 12 months. This will allow you time to dig yourself out of debt without worrying about interest piling up.
Build Your Account Back
Once you’ve sorted through your credit card debt, rebuild your depleted savings account. If you need to do so slowly, that’s fine. You’ll be most successful if you schedule automatic transfers from checking into savings every time you get paid. (The automatic part is insurance that the money will actually make the move.) The important thing is that you get it back to the place it was prior to your holiday spending spree.