10 Ways to Reduce Credit Card Debt This Holiday Season

Date posted: Dec. 9, 2016
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10 Ways to Reduce Credit Card Debt This Holiday Season

During the holiday season it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of expensive activities. From cocktail parties, to outings with friends, to gift purchases, this time of year can take a toll on your wallet. According to a BMO Financial Poll, nearly one third of Canadians rang in 2015 with an average $1192 in holiday related credit card debt.

So, how do you celebrate the season in an affordable way without giving your family and friends the cold shoulder? Read on to discover 10 Grinch-proof tactics to spread holiday cheer while reducing credit card debt.

  1. Embrace the true meaning of the season
    Instead of catching up with friends at a restaurant or bar, organize fun charitable activities that you can do together. Make plans to head over to your local soup kitchen to serve holiday meals, lend a hand at a food drive, or visit a retirement home to spread joy. These outings won’t cost a dime, and you and your loved ones will feel great helping out those in need.
     
  2. Stop credit card debt from snowballing
    When you’re carrying credit card debt across a number of cards, the interest can be overwhelming. Avoid building bad credit by taking out a personal loan to consolidate your debt. By taking out a personal loan you can reduce your credit card interest payments and you can make your payment schedule more manageable. Personal loans are available at lower rates than payday loans, and they can help you stay on track financially during the holidays.
     
  3. DIY décor and more
    Eliminate costly trips to the craft store by making your own holiday decorations. Arrange fresh holly branches in mason jars to create rustic centerpieces, and create a festive door wreath using greenery collected in your own backyard. This DIY attitude can also be applied to gift giving – instead of purchasing gifts you can create your own scented candles, bake cookies for friends, and buy nuts in bulk to create gourmet candied nuts.
     
  4. Start new traditions
    This year, start a Secret Santa tradition in your family. Each family member can draw a name from a hat and purchase a gift for that special person. Make sure to set the spend limit low so that no one feels pressured to buy a gift that’s beyond their means. This will cut down on the pressure to buy every family member a holiday gift.
     
  5. Organize a holiday movie night
    Opt out of hosting a cocktail party and plan a cozy movie night instead. Screen your favorite holiday classics and invite friends to bring over their personal favorites. You can encourage guests to show up in their ugliest holiday sweaters and serve up popcorn and hot cocoa for a festive night in.
     
  6. Create and follow a holiday budget
    When creating a holiday budget, a good rule of thumb is to avoid making hasty decisions that you’ll regret come January. You don’t need to buy a gift for everyone in your life, and there are lots of fun holiday activities that you can enjoy without spending money. By making your list and checking it twice you’ll be able to feel confident that you’re making smart financial choices that will serve you well in the new year.
     
  7. Make your own holiday cards
    Holiday cards can cost upwards of $5 a card – and oftentimes they are thrown out after a few weeks. Instead of buying cards, create your own personalized cards for family and friends. Channel your inner artist and draw or paint cards with personalized messages inside. You can also create cards on a computer and print them off at a local print store for a reasonable price. Your recipients will be touched that you took the time to make them a handmade card.
     
  8. Ask Santa for things you need, not things you want
    When people ask you about which gifts you would like this holiday season, think critically about your answer. Suggest items that you actually need – not items that you want. This will help you save money on essentials in the new year.
     
  9. Ring in the new year at home
    Host a New Year’s Eve potluck instead of planning an expensive night out on the town. Invite close friends to bring their favorite dishes and enjoy time together as you ring in the new year. This will cut down on expensive cab fares, dinner costs, and entrance fees to get into parties.  
     
  10. Fear not the regift
    Regifting has a bad rap, but there’s nothing bad about giving a new life to a gift that’s never been used. That picture frame or book that you don’t want could be the perfect gift for someone else.

This time of year can seem daunting financially, but with some thoughtful preparation and creative thinking you can avoid high costs and credit card debt. Next time you consider taking out a costly payday loan to cover the price of your holiday gifts, remember that this season isn’t about giving and receiving expensive items, it’s about spending time with loved ones. Happy holidays from easyfinancial!

 

 

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