Are you Suffering from a Debt Hangover?


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Yup, the holidays are the time when you can get overboard (in every sense of the word). Who can resist shiny bobbles, Christmas markets and an adorable pair of shoes you’ll wear to a holiday party?
Next thing you know, you’ve swiped your credit card too many times and gone into debt. AKA a debt hangover — when you have trouble sleeping, avoiding your credit card statements, and even snapping at your loved ones.
It’s not exactly a fun topic, but it’s an important one. Instead of saying bad things about yourself, grab a cup of hot chocolate, curl up on your sofa, and read on to find out what you can do to fix the situation and prevent it from happening again.

What is a Debt Hangover?

Let’s say you go out with a bunch of friends to celebrate the fact you got a fancy new job promotion — you have a new office overlooking the city! You’re so happy you ended up buying a round of drink for your friends, then they return the favour. The next morning, you’re a bit sick and wondering what the heck happened last night.
A debt hangover is much like the story above, except that you spent too much money instead of going overboard on drinks. What typically happens is that you’re so caught up in the holiday mood, you go spend-crazy. We’re talking about presents, travel, activities, and food.
It doesn’t stop there. After all, Christmas shops are notorious for making irresistible deals and sales. Besides, if you received gift cards, you may spend more than the amount on the gift card. Your New Year’s resolutions can also make you swipe that card more than you should. Like declaring you’ll implement an exercise routine, so you buy new outfits or a yoga mat. Or you’ll eat healthier, so you go and buy a blender to make smoothies.
Come January, your financial ends up suffering. The credit card bills reveal the consequences of your actions, and it may not be pretty.

No Shame in This Game

If you’re in debt, there is no shame around it. It’s understandable you got caught up in the moment. There’s something about instagramable holidays, delicious food, and great travel trips that can turn anyone into a credit card swiping monster.
The important thing is how you deal with the situation. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, then start working on an action plan. If you got yourself into some hot water with your money, there is a solution to get yourself out of it. The first step is to recognize you have debt and refusing to ignore it.

How to Cure Your Debt Hangover

No matter how much holiday-related debt you picked up, acknowledge how much debt is it and make a plan. As in, tally up all your credit card statements and see how much you owe. It’s OK, take a breath if you’re shocked by the number.Now you’re ready to take some action:

Start Paying Your Credit Cards

It’s pretty obvious you should pay down your debt. It’s important to remember that you need to make at least the minimum payments on those credit bills, more if you can. Paying the minimum payments gets you out of trouble with your creditors and paying more will get you out of debt faster.
It’s also a good idea to figure out a debt-free date. The beginning of the year is also a pretty lucky time — you may get year-end bonuses, cash gifts, and tax refunds. You might want to not spend so much this year and use the extra money to pay down your debts.

Enlist Help

We get it. Debt can be overwhelming. Instead of doing it by yourself, see if you can seek support — friends or personal finance tools — that can offer you suggestions to cut out unnecessary costs. Your budget may have seen better days, but now’s the time to see where you may be able to cut back to help pay off that debt.Think of simple actions you can do like cancelling subscriptions you never use, or negotiating down bills. You’d be surprised at how a simple 15-minute call can save you hundreds of dollars.

Take on a Side Hustle

If you don’t have enough money to pay down your debt, consider taking on a side job to earn more. There are lots of options — think grocery delivery services (GrabFood or honestbee), to giving out flyers on the streets — all you have to do is find one that works around your schedule.

How to Prevent Future Debt Hangovers

As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. Take it as a lesson learned in that it pays to be prepared. It’s never too early to open a savings account to start your holiday spending fund for the upcoming year. And oh yeah, set a budget!
And when you do, make sure to take as much as you can into consideration. Think gifts, wrapping paper, and transportation costs — everything adds up!
It’s not sexy to think about preventing debt, but your future self will thank you when you leave the holiday unscathed and hangover-free.

This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com.

Recommended Post: Paying my HDB with my CPF after 55 Years Old

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