RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Now that a new year has begun — we’re dealing with all those holiday bills in addition to our daily expenses.
For many — going into holiday debt can be frustrating, but there are ways to recover from those holiday purchases, there’s cash and there’s credit or debit cards. They both spend the same way— so what’s the difference??
The credit or debit card is convenient, but it can be too convenient when you’re trying to reign in your spending.
“Studies show when a person shops with plastic, you’ll actually spend more money because you don’t feel the impact of the money leaving your account,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. “If you use cash, you’re likely to spend less because you see it leaving your wallet.”
When it comes to the holiday season, we can get caught up in the joy of it and our spending gets out of control and we need suggestions to help us recover financially.
“A lot of people go into debt,” said Erica Foy, a shopper. “I try not to go into debt. We plan for it all year long and save.”
“Start saving now, as soon as the holidays are over, make a little account and put $5, $10, or $15 a week in it and it will build up over time,” said Parker.
What about those credit card bills you’ve already incurred??
Experts say you don’t want to carry them any longer than possible.
“After the holidays, if you have the ability to put a little extra money on your credit card statement — do so,” said Parker.
While you’re at it — give those credit cards a rest. Here’s how:
- Put those credit cards away to avoid creating even more debt. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Stay out of stores and shopping online.
- Unsubscribe from shopping emails to avoid getting tempted by another must-have deal.
For some, financial budgets can help cut your holiday spending.
Ask Marie Emory who cut back on holiday gift spending because she’s expecting next month and she and her husband need the money for those expenses.
“We definitely tried to (spend less). We stayed on track this year.”
You can also trim your grocery bills for a few months — putting the money you save into helping to pay down that holiday debt.
If you feel the need to buy something, then create a cash penalty for yourself.
“If you buy an item for fun, put the exact same amount in your savings,” said Parker. “Not only does it cut down on unnecessary items but it also builds up your savings.”
Another suggestion: Try what’s called a “no spend month” where you only buy essentials.
Some experts suggest February, since it’s still early in the year and the shortest month, so it might be the easiest month to try and not buy extras.