Tips to Recover from Holiday Spending

Whether you’re an AARP member or not, the holiday season brings spending temptations to the majority of Americans and, if you are like most people, you dread post-holiday bills.  Unchecked holiday spending can wreak havoc on finances, and January is the time to begin the recovery process.  Here are several suggestions to help you recovery from holiday debt.

First, determine how much money you owe.  Be specific with the amounts that you need to pay on each credit card.  Create a list of debts and determine which debts need priority.  If you have significant credit card charges, pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, or some experts advise that you consider consolidating your credit card debt into one loan with a single affordable payment each month.

Next, if you are in good health, consider taking on a part-time job, and allocating that income solely to pay off your holiday debt.  Many business owners gladly hire seniors, because of their personable nature and dependability.  Once you’ve paid your holiday debt then consider opening a Savings account to start putting away money for the next holiday season to avoid the same situation from occurring again.   Be sure to check with Social Security to know your penalty free earning options and still receive the same amount of monthly Social Security income.

Many seniors own their homes free and clear of a mortgage.  If you are in this situation, you may want to consider a home equity loan to pay off holiday debt.  Be sure that your loan re-payment would be lower than your credit card debt payments.  You want to avoid repeating the same situation.  Talk with your banker about available rates.

Finally, take inventory of what you really need.  Many senior citizens find that they have more household items than they care to manage.  Enlist the help of children and neighbors, and sell the unopened or unwanted products or furniture.  Then, use this money to pay off holiday debt.

Seniors tend to have a number of relatives that they want to buy for throughout the year, and especially during the holidays.  Consider creating a gift calendar and budget to plan your spending throughout the year so that you can be ready for the holiday season next year.   Remember, your children and grandchildren value spending time with you more than any gift you could ever buy them!



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