It’s a new year and a popular time to set resolutions. The phrase, “New Year, New You” turns up on social media and in blogs, encouraging people to reinvent the person in the mirror as a new and improved version of themselves. If your finances are feeling drained from holiday spending, the “New You” might start by getting a handle on your money matters.
Here are some tips to help get your finances back on track after the holidays.
Add It Up
Start by figuring out how much debt you have. A ledger of how much you spent on gifts, food, entertaining and other holiday-related expenses will help you set realistic goals for paying it off. Calculate the amount of money you need to pay your monthly bills and put any disposable income toward paying down your debt. As a bonus, you can use the document as a reference to predict how much your family will spend on future holidays.
Check Your Credit Report
You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com. If there are any errors on your credit report, you can correct them. There might be something you’ve missed that’s negatively affecting your credit score. A strong credit report means you will have lower interest rates on loans, which can save you a lot of money and potentially increase your disposable income. If you haven’t checked your report in a while, consider starting the new year off right by knowing exactly where your credit stands.
Find The Highest Interest
If you put your holiday shopping on a credit card, you may be losing significant amounts of money each month in interest. Determine which of your credit cards carries the highest interest and pay down that card first.
Hold That Card
Temporarily stop credit card spending. Set a limit on day-to-day purchases until you’ve gotten caught up and paid off your holiday debt.
Consider taking advantage of 0% credit card transfer offers allowing you to pay off the debt over a longer period of time. But take caution as transfer fees and interest rates jumping at the end of limited promotional periods may wind up costing you more in the long run. Look at the big picture and make sure a 0% balance transfer is the right fit for you.
Put Extra Money Toward Debts
If you get a work bonus, receive a tax refund, or receive money as a gift, consider putting this extra money toward your debt to help make a dent without affecting your monthly spending plan based on your normal income.
People who keep track of their savings often end up saving more, because they have it on their minds. You can keep tabs on your checking and savings account by using BancorpSouth’s MyBXS app. If you don’t use it, now is a good time to start. Learn more about the MyBXS app and download it here. Then, get into the habit of utilizing it and keeping an eye on your spending and finances anywhere you have your smartphone or tablet. (Message and data rates may apply depending on your carrier and plan.) Thinking about a purchase? You can make a quick check on your accounts to help you decide whether you really need a big-ticket item or want to save money.
By following these tips, you’ll pay down your holiday debt faster and start the new year off right.
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