Christmas debt too high? If your family is like ours, we always seem to spend more at Christmas than we planned to. Part of the reason for overspending is because of last minute gift needs and unexpected house or dinner guests. The other reason is because we have unrealistic expectations of how much things are going to cost.
Accumulating a little bit of Christmas debt isn’t an awful thing as long as you can pay if off quickly to avoid interest charges. Here are five easy ways that our family is paying off our Christmas debt.
Switch to all generic
Most of us probably buy a few generic items already as a way to save money on groceries. I decided to switch to all generic labels in January for even more of a savings which will be used to pay down the credit card. Switching from name brand to generic is an easy way to free up a few hundred dollars that can be parlayed into Christmas debt reduction.
File taxes early
If you have a tax refund coming to you this year like we do, filing early means that tax refund checks could arrive as early as mid February. Since this income isn’t part of our budget, it won’t be missed if it’s used to make a large credit card payment.
Leverage rewards into savings
Does your bank offer a rewards program? While many people redeem reward points for lodging, discounted plane fare and more, we redeemed our rewards for gasoline cards. The money we’ve freed from our monthly transportation budget is now paying down our Christmas debt as well.
Mine for silver
Ever since discovering that old silver coins are worth money, I’ve gotten in the habit of asking for change in 50-cent pieces where possible. Kennedy half dollars from 1964 contain 90% silver which can be sold to collectors for $11 each. 1965-1969 half dollars only contain 40% silver, but are still worth $5 each. The money earned from mining for silver can also be used to pay down credit card debt.
All of us probably have something of value in our homes or garages that could be sold for a bit of spare cash. While it’s definitely not yard sale weather yet, high ticket items such as household appliances, bikes, office equipment, tools, and vehicles are easy to sell any time of year through the classifieds. I recently sold an old bike and a rug on Craig’s List which freed up $150 in cash that went directly to paying off our Christmas debt.
Freeing up cash for Christmas debt reduction is easy when the funds come from outside of your normal household budget. These five ideas can get you started.
More by this contributor:
Three ways I’m avoiding credit card interest
How old silver coins may worth money
Why I shop at 9 different stores for groceries