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5 easy ways to pay off your debt before the holidays

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Holidays are stressful. There are requests to attend events and give gifts, while remaining cheerful. And then there is pressure on your wallet. On average, Americans plan to spend $932 on gifts this year. That’s about $100 more than last year. One of the main reasons for this is the inflation that we have seen over the past year.

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To cope with rising prices, many Americans have gone into debt in 2022. More than 64 million Americans have credit card debt. Even aside from inflation, vacations in general cause families to become indebted. Last year, 36% of Americans went into holiday debt, which averaged out to about $1,249.

If you overspend on gifts, the results can be devastating to your financial well-being. This is especially true if you have already accumulated years of debt. However, there is hope. Experts have stepped in to tell us the best ways to pay off your debt quickly before the holidays.

Look in a balance transfer card

If you have a lot of credit card debt, one way to make paying it off easier is to get a balance transfer card. Tommy Gallagher, founder of Top Mobile Banks, said the holidays are actually a good time to transfer your balance to one of these cards. “Credit card interest rates tend to rise at this time of year, so getting a card with low or no interest payments can save you money each month while paying off your debt more. quickly,” Gallagher said.

However, revenue manager at Achieve Sean Fox advised to make sure you can pay off your debt before the introductory rate on your balance transfer card expires, or you’ll be stuck with more debt. “Do your calculations carefully so you know the balance transfer fee won’t be greater than the savings you’ll make by making the transfer,” Fox said.

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Reduce unnecessary expenses

It may seem obvious, but really harness your savings skills just before the holidays start. Gallagher said the best way to do this is to create a solid budget. “By breaking down your spending into specific categories, you can more easily identify where you’re overspending and make changes to save money,” Gallagher said.

Annette Harris, Financial Fitness Coach at Harris Financial Coaching, said one of the main areas where you can cut spending is eating out. Doing this frequently can cost you quite a bit. “You could spend over $50 a night on takeout for a family of four. Eating out at least four nights a week can cost you over $800 a month. The key is to shop and cook your meals at home. You will find that you have meals that can last several nights with your family. The money you save from cooking at home can help you pay off your debt before the holidays.

Consider a personal loan

If your debt is overwhelming and you’re spending a lot of interest, a loan might be worth investigating. Fox says a loan can sometimes make your life easier when it comes to your finances. “If you can qualify for a loan that has a lower rate than your credit cards, you can withdraw the funds from the loan, pay off your higher interest rate debt, and then have just one payment. to make (the personal loan) with a lower payment,” Fox said. He said to keep in mind that interest rates are based on your credit and can vary widely.

You don’t have to go through a creditor to get a loan. Although it may take a lot of courage, consider asking a friend or family member you can trust. Although it can be humiliating, a friend probably won’t charge interest, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Get a second job

The holidays are a great time to take on extra work, as stores hire seasonal employees. This can be a great method to earn extra money to pay off your debt. Fox advised, if you can, try to get a job you like or give yourself a discount you can use to buy gifts. “Be creative and see where your interests and possibilities lie: tutoring children who have to pass exams, babysitting, pet sitting, dog walking or gardening work. [Additionally]many companies that have customer service operations are happy to hire seasonal workers remotely.

Sell ​​your stuff

There are now many websites where you can list your possessions that you no longer use and earn some quick cash. Scott Lieberman, founder of TouchdownMoney.com, said to look first at sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp. “When I needed money to pay my debts, I sold my old trumpet that I hadn’t played in years. My band teacher in high school may have been upset, but I was happy for the quick cash,” Lieberman said.

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Ashley Redmond contributed to the reporting of this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 easy ways to pay off your debt before the holidays

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