Despite my best intentions I always seem to start the year with debt that I have accumulated over the holiday period. Im pretty good most of the year but then it all goes to custard around Christmas and I seem to spend most of the year getting on top of it. What do you suggest?
Its not uncommon for people to struggle the most around the Christmas and holiday period. Unlike many countries around the world NZ celebrates Christmas and takes most of our holidays around the same time each year. In NZ we often joke about the lights going off for a month over Christmas.
In Europe for instance they have their major holiday period during summer which is the middle of the year. In the US most people only take a couple of days off over Christmas. This makes it a little easier on peoples finances as they are not paying for both Christmas and holidays at the same time.
Here are some tips for getting on top off your holiday debt:
- Open the mail! It can be challenging to open up you bills when you know its going to be tough paying them. Knowledge is power so be brave and open them up.
- Write down a list of all of your debts, who they are to, what the interest rates are, the timeframes and the total cost.
- Prepare a budget so you are aware of where your money is going and work out what spare money you have.
Put a plan in place to make regular payments off your debts to eventually pay them off. They wont pay themselves!
- Get help if you need it. We all need help at times to give us some assistance and keep us on track.
- Start planning for next years holiday period well in advance so you don’t end up repeating the same exercise next year.
Where do I get help?
There are a number of options available:
- A great place to start is the Federation of Family Budgeting which you can contact through the Citizens Advice Bureau www.familybudgeting.org.nz
- Another website I really like which is fabulous for money savings tips is www.simplesavings.co.nz. Their service costs $47 per year but I think its well worth the potential savings you can make.
- There is a lot of free information on the internet that can be helpful if you take the time to have a good look around.