It’s hard to resist the urge to splurge during the gift-giving and celebration season. You may start out with a firm resolve to stay within a budget and limit the amount you spend. But a last minute gift, a deal that’s too good to pass up or even an unexpected household or medical emergency can end up breaking even the most carefully planned budget and push you into debt. Fortunately, there are ways that you can start cutting down the amount you owe during this holiday season and into the new year.
One way to get on top of your debt is to investigate some of the credit card offers that are available to you. That may seem like a strange way to solve the problem, but you may be able to benefit from the special introductory terms that some of these cards offer. If you have good credit, for example, you may qualify for zero interest credit cards or for zero balance transfer credit cards. The big advantage to such cards is that you can put your entire monthly payment towards reducing your debt instead of having a big chunk of it going towards the interest.
With a zero interest credit card, you can make new purchases on your card for a set period of time—often six months to a year—without having to pay any interest on those charges. A zero balance transfer credit card will allow you to move your debt from a high-interest credit card (or several cards) to the new card. You won’t have to pay interest on that transferred balance for a specified period of time.
While such cards can be a great way to significantly reduce your debt, you will need some self-control to use them effectively.
If you’re serious about reducing your debt this holiday season, limit the use of your credit cards altogether. Tuck away the zero balance transfer credit card and don’t use it again until your balance has disappeared. If you absolutely have to charge something, use the zero interest credit card—and make sure that you’ve paid off that balance before the interest charges kick in.