Four ways to keep the bills under control.
Some people experience the bill-paying blues after a holiday season of warm memories — but cold credit card debt.
Here are four ways to get out of the red after the holidays, courtesy of the personal finance website Planwise.com and Howard Dvorkin, who started Fort Lauderdale-based Consolidated Credit Counseling Services.
• Start making a list of all credit card accounts, their balances, payment due dates, credit limits and the minimum payments due each month. “Not only does this keep things organized but it prevents bills from being late or unaccounted for,” Dvorkin said.
• Develop a plan to pay back. Look for ways to shave expenses to set aside an extra $50, $75 or $100 a month to pay down your holiday debt, Dvorkin said. “There are always ways to cut monthly expenses,” said Vincent Turner, founder of Planwise.com. Take your lunch to work or enjoy free entertainment, such as a walk in a park, Turner suggested.
• Pay the highest interest rate debt first to cut your interest costs down, both financial experts recommended. Start by paying as much as you can, while making sure you pay at least the minimum required on your other credit cards.
• Go on a pay cash diet, taking cash out of the ATM for your spending, to help you avoid impulse buying with a credit card, Turner said. It will also help you budget your needs.