Guest Post written by Atlanta Bankruptcy Lawyer, Bryce Angell
We’ve all been there before. The holidays come and it’s spend, spend, spend. Family and friends receive their gifts and are glowing with cheer, love and thankfulness. Somehow, we manage to scrape up the extra money–with just a little help from credit cards and overtime.
January comes, and with it tears. The money usually spend on bills is now sitting in Grandma Maratha’s chest of drawers in the form of a cashmere sweater and that direct debit you swore you stopped caused a negative balance and portly overdraft fee.
Pleasant Sunday afternoons of bill paying and coffee at the kitchen table are transformed into frustrated phone conversations with creditors and utility companies.
The easiest way to avoid post holiday pain is to prepare. $25 every month set aside as a “holiday fund” is $150 by Christmas time and you can easily double that based on your budget.
Considering it is November we are all wondering what other options we may have.
The easiest way is to get money from other sources. Sell unused clothes, shoes, books or other items collecting dust in storage. You may think you’ll use them someday but honestly- You probably won’t. It’s time to let go.
Get your holiday hustle on! Is there a hobby you can capitalize on? Is yard-work a stress reliever? Can you build websites or knit? Every bit counts.
A last resort should be credit cards. They are engineered for you to borrow money you don’t have and usually carry with it a ridiculous APR. (Annual Percentage Rate, which can be as high as 45%! That’s $45 extra you pay for every $100! Beware of the fine print.)
If you must use the credit option, use a low interest rate card and try to pay the balance in full at the end of the month so you are only paying back the exact amount you borrowed!
In short, enjoy your holidays. Don’t let the stress of finances bog you down! times are hard, maybe cousin Billy will survive with a Christmas card and a poem of last years events.