While Christmas is all wrapped up for many people, others are just starting to deal with all of the extra expenses that come with the holiday season.
If you're facing a larger-than-expected credit card statement this month, you're not alone.
"December, November rolls in and we go oh my gosh I've got to buy some things and with that sometimes we spend more and come January we go, OK I spent more than I planned now how am I going to pay for it," said Marley Prunty-Lara, the Community Relations Coordinator with Lutheran Social Services Credit Counseling service.
"I have kids so I spent a little more than I should have spent, but I figured I would make it up during the January and February months," said holiday shopper Michael Guy.
If you're in this situation right now, here are some tips from Lutheran Social Services to help you pay off your holiday debt:
• First, get a list of all your debts with their balances to calculate your total debt
• Then calculate your current monthly expenses and examine your spending plan to find places to make necessary reductions
• Try to use as much income as possible toward debt repayment
• Don't add to the debt you already have
"You don't want to add any additional debt while your trying to pay off debt...anything else that isn't absolutely necessary, we really encourage people once they are on a plan to pay off a debt that they stay on that plan and don't add anything extra," said Prunty-Lara.
But with all your regular monthly bills and the temptations of big after Christmas sales, trying to tighten up your spending can be easier said than done.
That's why planning ahead for the holidays can help you enjoy the benefits of a balanced budget all year long.
One idea for planning out your Christmas budget is putting aside money every month into a Christmas savings account—that way you'll know exactly how much money you have to spend on gifts when December rolls around.
"If you have kids, maybe get them involved and say kids how much of your allowance do you want to set aside to spend on gifts for your siblings for your parents, grandparents that type of thing so it's a whole family exercise," said Prunty-Lara.
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