GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – For many, it is the time of year when they are forced to come face-to-face with credit card statements that include holiday spending.
The average American spent $750 on gifts.
“I did a lot more shopping than I intended to,” said holiday shopper Stephanie Lewis.
“I shouldn’t have spent that much,” laughed holiday shopper Brittany Messimer, “but it’s for family and stuff, and they’re worth it.”
Thanks to a busy and expensive holiday shopping season, now comes the struggle of recovering and replenishing.
One of the fastest ways to keep the credit card statement from growing is to stop keep the credit card in the wallet and use only cash.
That’s a method also recommended by the Better Business Bureau serving eastern North Carolina.
Mallory Wojciechowski, the organization’s president, suggests taking it one step further.
“Try not to go to the mall,” said Wojciechowski. “Try not to go in stores. You can even unsubscribe from stores that will send you emails.”
Another method that is becoming popular, yet takes some serious dedication, is the 50-50 method.
When you buy something that’s a non-necessity, put the same amount of money you spent on it in a savings account.
Another tip to buy items ahead of time in order to avoid getting sucked into the holiday spending hole.
The BBB offers the following suggestions when it comes to using what you have to pay off debt:
Develop a Plan — Before you begin paying off any bill, it is important to develop a plan for paying down debt as quickly as possible without dipping into emergency savings or borrowing money. There are plenty of great online resources that help monitor money and get your budget in line.
Put Your Credit Cards Away — In an effort to avoid creating more debt, put credit cards away and out of your wallet to avoid the temptation of using them. Some credit card companies allow their customers to freeze their cards temporarily, which helps dissuade them from using the cards, as well.
Pay Extra Whenever You Can — When repaying debt and trying to regain financial stability, it is always best if you can pay more than what the monthly minimum of what you owe is. This will help get the debt down and help you pay it off quicker.
Stay Out of the Stores (Online and In-Person) — When facing a post-holiday debt situation, avoid going to the mall or shopping online. One of the easiest ways to help curb online shopping is to unsubscribe from email lists, which often advertise tempting sales and deals after the holiday season.
Return Anything You Didn’t Use/Unwanted Gifts — Take an inventory of the items you bought for the holidays that you didn’t end up using (paper plates, tree decorations, etc.), or if you received a gift that you can return without hurting anyone’s feelings, then go ahead and return the item. When you return an item you bought with your credit card, it’ll push down your balance some. When you return an unwanted gift, you’re gaining some much-needed cash you didn’t have on hand before, which you may need for paying your bills.