If there were too many amazing sales that were too good to resist, you may find yourself in a spending hangover. Thankfully, you won’t have to eat a special hangover cure to deal with this, but the experience can be a good way to set up a better financial lifestyle and increase your ID protection.
Just like waking up from any other kind of excess, the first step is to stop. Stop spending on everything you don’t need, from the post-New Year’s sales to anything else you don’t expressly need. Once that is done and you have regained control, it is important to survey the damage. Find out just how much you spent, and how many accounts have been over-used. Taking stock of both your current accounts and any you may have kept in reserve will let you know how aggressively you need to save in the future.
Once you have righted the ship and taken stock of the situation, it’s time to build a plan to pay off debt and work your way toward financial freedom by making a budget. A comprehensive budget that is true to how much you earn and how much you can realistically live on will give you the power and efficiency to pay off your debt in a controlled way, like paying multiples of your minimum to dig out of debt faster while still having your day-to-day needs taken care of. Knowing exactly where your money is going can keep you more aware of if there is a slip in your ID theft protection.
You can also consider taking steps to request a lower interest rate or consolidating debt from multiple sources to help with your credit woes. This will take a little work, but can either give you more breathing room or help you focus your efforts on a single balance.
To learn more, see the new article, “Paying Off Holiday Debt” on the Equifax Finance Blog.