The holidays have come and gone in a flurry of tinsel and good cheer. Santa may have gotten your loved ones everything they wanted, but he doesn’t always work for cheap. All that gift-exchanging and merry-making and meal-sharing? It’s likely more than just your heart and waistline that swelled to twice their size. Many people find themselves with post-holiday credit card bills so long, they may as well be staring at Santa’s naughty list.
Not to worry! You can say goodbye to holiday debt with some discipline and a little bit of creativity. Here are four strategies for saving or making extra cash when you need it most.
1. Give your credit card a holiday. The best way to keep debt from growing is to stop feeding it. Try leaving your credit card at home and carry cash instead. That way, you can only spend what you have, so you’ll be less likely to talk yourself into buying that adorably unnecessary throw pillow or your 27th pair of new shoes. You’ll also be more willing to forego that five-dollar latte when you know you’ll need every last dollar in your wallet for groceries and gas.
2. Purge and profit. You haven’t worn that dress in two years. The kids are ignoring their old toys since Christmas, and—just face it—you’re never going to use that overpriced exercise bike. What better time to get rid of all the excess stuff in your life and score some extra cash while you’re at it? Selling your things second hand on a site like VarageSale can provide you with the bonus income you need to pay off your credit card bills. You’ve got to admit, being debt-free and clutter-free is an empowering feeling.
3. Eat like you’re on Survivor. Cutting corners to pay off debt could help you cut calories too. If that pile of take-out menus is calling your name, recycle them and stick to a home-cooked meal instead. Explore your cupboards to see what ingredients are available to you. At first glance, you might think there’s absolutely nothing to eat in the house. But look again. Chances are you can whip up a meal with what you’ve got lying around. An omelette made with that last chunk of cheese, some leftover chopped onion and those peppers at the bottom of your fridge may not be exactly what your taste buds were craving, but at least you don’t have to forage for food on a deserted island.
4. When all else fails, buy a lottery ticket. But not too many. You are in debt, after all.
The holidays can be rough on the pocketbook. But it is possible to bounce back by taking a break from spending and finding new ways to make some extra cash. And being financially responsible in 2015 is bound to get you on Santa’s nice list next Christmas.
P.S. Do you have a creative way to pay off your credit card bill? Share your secret with us below…