The holidays are a time of twinkling lights, smiling children, singing carols, and being surrounded by family. Unfortunately, they can also be a time of financial anxiety–specifically after the holidays when the credit card bills begin to arrive. Here are five ways to regain your financial footing after the holidays:
1. Consolidate your credit cards.
While it won’t pay off holiday debt directly, consolidating the debt from multiple high interest credit cards can help make your monthly debt payments more affordable and help you to pay them off faster and pay less interest. While it won’t get rid of debt, it can help you pay off holiday debt in a more manageable, effective way.
The average credit card in America has an interest rate of 15%, so finding a new card with a lower rate– or even a 0% interest promotion for a set period of time– can help you to pay off the debt you’ve accumulated around the holidays with a more manageable budget.
2. Get an early start on spring cleaning.
If you’ve got clutter around your home, you’d be surprised at how much money you just might be sitting on that could help you pay off holiday debt. From small kitchen appliances to baby clothes and toys and unused furniture to bikes and sporting goods, home clutter isn’t just annoying to look at– it can also be a feasible way to pay off holiday debt.
Social media and smartphones have made selling used items a breeze. The Facebook Marketplace will allow users to upload pictures and information about their items as well as list a price while interested parties can send private messages to the seller. Apps like Offer Up and LetGo also offer great outlets for sellers to get rid of everything they don’t need around their homes.
Choose to meet up with a buyer at a neutral, local location or have them come to you (use your discretion if doing so) and you could wind up with hundreds or even thousands of dollars to pay off holiday debt that you didn’t even know you had.
3. Earmark your tax refund (if you’re getting one).
For many Americans, the new year brings with it the anticipation of a federal income tax refund. Of course, for the rest of us, it beings the dread of a federal income tax bill. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets a refund, you can begin filing your taxes as early as February first. Use that federal income tax refund to pay off holiday debt so you won’t be stuck with payments for months on end.
4. Cook for strangers.
Love to cook but aren’t sure how it could help you to pay off holiday debt? A new app for Android and iPhone called “Homemade” could potentially make you some serious money in return for your culinary talents. The app is a marketplace for people looking to buy and sell homemade food. From homemade pierogi to spaghetti and meatballs to black forest cake and your famous spicy taco bake, Homemade allows both professional and amateur cooks to sell their culinary creations to interested parties.
You can allow people to come in and dine in your home (think restaurant style), but for those who aren’t quite comfortable with that, you can also offer delivery or pickup of food items.
5. Tap into equity.
Let’s face it: there are a lot of ways to make some money to help pay off holiday debt. Selling your clutter online, selling your plasma, selling your mom’s famous chicken and dumplings recipe, and utilizing your tax refund–they’ll all help you find some extra cash to put toward paying off holiday debt. However, for homeowners, there could be another way. A way that could allow you to put money back into your own pocket not only for a little bit, but for a long time: your mortgage.
Refinancing and cashing out some of the equity in your home is a great way to access cash you may not even know you have. Increased home values across the country mean that you could have thousands of dollars you could be using to pay off holiday debt–or for any other reason.
Refinancing while cashing out a portion of your equity can help you to pay off credit cards, lower your monthly payments, and maybe even have money leftover for home improvements or repairs, college tuition payments, retirement account contributions, an emergency cash reserve fund, or even a family vacation.
Even better, you’ll also get to skip one monthly mortgage payment while your refinance processes. Considering that the average American spends $700 on holiday gifts and the average American monthly mortgage payment is just over $1,000, skipping that one payment alone could be enough to pay off holiday debt.
Low rates are still available. Now is the time.
Financial experts are forecasting mortgage rate increases in 2017, but rates are still low. Now might just be the best possible time to refinance. Take advantage of low mortgage rates while they last, pay off holiday debt, and lower your monthly payments with a cash out refinance. Want to hear more about your options? Call an NLC Loans Personal Mortgage Advisor today at 877-480-8050 for a completely free, no-strings-attached mortgage evaluation. We’ll listen to your goals, go over your options, and get you on your way to savings so that you can breathe easier.