Still recovering from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season?? Hopefully by now this is the case and you are settling nicely back into your routines. Now with the being said, there may be an upcoming event that could cause a black cloud to overshadow the momentum of the new year.
This annual event being Blue Monday, of course. While some are more familiar with this day, others may be more unclear about what this expression is actually in reference to. Well, in case you are wondering, Blue Monday, typically falls on the third Monday in January every calendar year.
This year, the date happens to be this Monday, January the 16th, with the ‘Blue’ in Blue Monday referring to the fact that many perceive this day to be the most depressing day of the entire year. Whether or not you believe this to be true, there is one reason in particular that does lend itself to this meaning.
The wider understanding and significance of this date has to due with the fact that this post-holiday date is when the financial implications of the Holidays seem to catch up with us. For example, credit card bills begin to roll in, and individuals who perhaps did splurge over the holidays may start to stress more and more about the realities of the debt they have accumulated in previous months.
If you are currently feeling the financial weight of the previous holiday and want to avoid the negative feelings associated with this time of year, there are steps you can take now to improve your finances moving forward.
Instead of falling victim to this said depressing time of year, don’t let Blue Monday get you down by developing a plan to tackle all of that holiday debt. Here are some suggestions.
Focus on the Most Worrisome Debt First
One way to help combat the holiday debt is to identify which is the most troublesome debt for you. With that being said, most times it is best to deal with the debt that carries the highest interest rate. For example, if you have a credit card with a very high rate, this can mean that you are likely in curing debt from this source at a faster pace.
Therefore, if you can start getting rid of this bad debt first, this can lessen the extreme burden the debt is causing you. While you still may have other debts to deal with at lower interest rates, they won’ t creep as high and as quickly as those with a higher interest rate will.
In addition to targeting the most worrisome debt you are carrying, it will also be a good idea to aim to pay more than just the minimum balance each month. By paying more than this amount, you can begin to pay off the debt faster, and in turn the interest will not grow as much, raising your outstanding debt level higher and higher.
Consolidate Your Loans
Secondly, if you want to overcome your Blue Monday woes, you can also look into consolidating your debt. If, over the holidays you used more than one credit card to pay for various expenses, then the balance on each of these cards could be quite high. You may also have additional debts in the form of personal loans, a car loan, etc. Fortunately, here you can look at taking all of these debts and combining them into one loan. By consolidating these loans, you can also secure a lower interest rate.
Since consolidation loans are designed to help you pay off your debts at a more successful rate, then this can also be an effective method of ridding yourself of your holiday debt as soon as possible.
Put Away the Credit Cards . . . for now
In addition to finding various ways of paying off your debts, in the case of having a lot of holiday debt, you may also benefit from taking a break from using your credit cards. Again, if you have used them a lot this holiday, then putting them away for the time being could be for the best.
Again, since credit card interest rates can be relatively high, then you are also making it easier on yourself to pay off your debt by not racking up a lot of interest charges in the process. Ultimately, these charges can especially add to your total credit balances and relatively quickly as well.
However, not carrying your credit card is only have the battle as often times our credit information is stored in our online retail accounts. This makes it even easier to pay for something with credit and again increase our credit card debt.
As a result, it may also be a good idea to temporarily delete your credit card numbers and account preferences from these retail sites, removing any further temptation to spend more money via any one of your credit cards. On top of paying off your debts, you can also decrease the amount of debt you will be accumulating wherever possible.
Cut Back on Spending
Finally, as yet another step to help you pay off your debt, as well as not to add to your current debt load, you should also consider cutting back on your overall spending. With high volumes of purchases made over the holiday season, why not start the new year off by reducing your spending and helping to keep your debts at a more manageable level.
While it really is a personal decision as to which areas you can cut back on, there are certain suggestions that can perhaps apply to a wide range of individuals. For example, perhaps there are services and expenses you can cut out altogether, and others where you can lower the amount you are currently spending.
More specially can you switch to other brands and stores where items and services may be purchased for less. Can you reduce your hydro and electricity costs, and the overall living expenses you currently have? Figuring out where you have been overspending the past is also a very good place to start.
In the end, you will need to identify these areas for yourself and then you can move forward with cutting back on your spending and avoid taking on more debt. Subsequently, reducing the amount you are spending each month can also mean you are freeing up some additional money that could be used to pay off some of your holiday debt. Lastly, you can also think about re-working your budget and using this as a guide for monitoring your spending over time.
As you can see, there are ways to overcome the financial ‘blues’ associated with Blue Monday and to continue enjoying your New Year.
In order to reduce your holiday debt and improve your finances, you just need to take some time to review your finances and come up with some effective methods of paying off that debt as well as reducing your spending as much as possible – and 2017 can become a much sunnier time from here on out.