Let’s talk about Santa Shock, shall we? No, not the “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus” kind. For this conversation, we will use “Santa Shock” to refer to that icy sense of regret that creeps in when you open those first post-Christmas credit card bills. If you’ve ever blown past your self-imposed holiday spending limit, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
The realization that you racked up additional debt can be an isolating frustration—something you’d rather keep to yourself, but it might help to realize that roughly 77% of Americans admitted to crashing through their respective financial barriers opens in a new window just like you. We know, we know. You don’t want to celebrate other people’s bad decisions, but when it comes to financial challenges, misery may not love company, but it kinda likes having it around.
You overspent. Now what?
Let’s face the facts. Once the gifts have been opened, the holidays have passed, and the bills roll in, your budget may be a little tighter than you’d like. When you’re faced with those oversized balances, it can be tempting just to make minimum payments and figure out your finances later. But thanks to those pesky credit card interest rates, that approach not only makes the problem last longer, it also makes it more expensive. This year, why not get creative and recover from Santa Shock as quickly as possible?
3 Practical Tips for Paying Off Holiday Debt
If you want to pay off your holiday debt sooner rather than later, try these simple ideas to free up some funds and get your budget back on track:
Cut cable. Since the average cable bill is roughly $107 per month opens in a new window, this step doesn’t require much of an explanation. Unless you’re in the middle of a long-term contract with early termination charges, canceling your monthly cable subscription can save you more than $1,000 per year—more than enough to pay off all or most of those holiday debts. And with affordable streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, you can still keep up with many of your favorite shows.
Closet clean out. If you got new clothes for Christmas, you have to make room in the closet, right? Instead of packing them away, gather up your gently used items and try to sell them online opens in a new window. Apps like ThredUp, Poshmark, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace make it incredibly easy to reach thousands of potential buyers without leaving the comfort of your home.
Meal prep for a couple of months. Everybody has to eat. There’s no way around that. And while dining out is convenient, it can also end up costing you more than you realize. Depending on where you live, a single meal at a restaurant can set you back $10-12. If you go to a restaurant more than once a day, you may be spending far more than you need to. By planning ahead and preparing meals in advance opens in a new window, you can save on dining costs and redirect some of your food budget toward your credit card balances.
We’ve already established the fact that it’s fairly common to go over a holiday budget. However, sometimes we get carried away with the yuletide spending and wind up over our heads financially. If you find yourself deep in debt and unable to find a way out, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our team of financial specialists can help you assess your current situation and then recommend the best programs, products, and solutions for your specific needs. With our help, you might even be able to avoid Santa Shock altogether next year!