Holiday shopping is finally over — how's your bank account looking?
At the start of the holiday season, Gallup conducted a survey that found that the average American planned to spend $830 on gifts this year, up from $720 last year. Good news for the economy, but not necessarily for your own personal economy.
If you stayed within your budget, or can pay off remaining credit card bills by February at the latest, you did great! If, however, you think you’ll be suffering a holiday hangover, here's what to do.
Assess the damage: Figure out how much you spent, and where the money came from. How much do you now owe on your credit cards and at what interest rates? Did you pull money out of a retirement account that you need to repay?
Pay it back: Digging out of credit card debt is easier if you can do it on a zero percent interest rate card. Find a list of the best balance transfer offers for your credit score at cardhub.com. Use whatever you can to reduce debt — including gift cards.
Prepay for next year: Take your holiday spending total and divide it by 52. Then, starting next week, sock away that amount every week into a dedicated, holiday savings account (set up an automatic transfer so you don’t forget).