RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) The Better Business Bureau is offering consumer financial tips on how to recover after the holidays.
According to Mastercard, U.S. consumers spent more than $880 billion on holiday shopping, up 3.4 percent from 2018.
“Without proper budgeting, it can be easy to overspend during the holidays,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, President, and CEO of BBB serving Eastern NC. “With time, effort and self-control, consumers can get back on track in no time.”
BBB offers consumers the following tips for financial success in 2020:
Create a plan. Before you begin paying off any bills, be sure to figure out how much you need to save every month to get back on track. If you are new to budgeting, Intuit Mint is a free budgeting app that allows you to create a budget, track your purchases and plan ahead.
Stay out of stores. When facing a post-holiday debt situation, avoid going to the mall or shopping online. One of the easiest ways to help curb online shopping is to unsubscribe from email lists, which often advertise tempting sales and deals after the holiday season.
Put your credit cards away. In an effort to avoid creating more debt, but credit cards away and out of your wallet to avoid the temptation of using them. Some credit card companies allow their customers to freeze their cards temporarily, which helps dissuade them from using the cards, as well.
Pay more than the minimum. While it may be tempting to pay the minimum amount due every month, do yourself a favor and pay a little extra every chance you get.
Pay with cash. Numerous studies have shown that consumers will spend less when they carry cash. Many retailers will also offer discounts for paying with cash.
Cut frivolous spending. Stop spending unnecessary money. Brew your own coffee, pack your lunch, do your nails at home. You’ll be surprised at how much money you save every month.
Have a spend-free weekend. Check out your local newsletter for any free events that are happening in your area. If the weather is inclement, break out those board games and movies you haven’t touched in years.
Use your tax return wisely. Instead of taking a vacation or buying the latest smartphone, use that extra money to pay off your debt.