Today is “Blue Monday”. 15 January is said to be the most depressing day of the year; back to work blues just as the post-Christmas credit card bills hit the floor.
According to National Debtline, 8 million people expect to fall behind with their finances this month. It is estimated that it will take until April to pay back their Christmas borrowing.
Hopefully our 6-step guide to getting your finances back on track will brighten your mood:
Step 1: Assess the damage
Chances are you’re underestimating how much you’ve spent, how much you’ve borrowed and the true cost of credit. According to Zoopla, 40% of people do not know how much their monthly outgoings are. One in three admit to having ‘no idea’ how much they owe. One quarter of people do not consider themselves to be in debt if they are spending within their limit on a credit card.
It’s time to take an honest review of your recent spending, examine those bank and credit card statements.
Step 2: Put your credit cards away
It takes 45 months to pay off a £4,000 (29.9% APR) credit card debt at £150 per month. That leaps to 73 months if the balance is £5,000. An extra 25% added to the debt takes 60% longer to repay.
If you can manage to put them away, then do so. Its far easier to overspend on plastic. But remember - credit cards do give some protection when buying goods; read more here.
Step 3: Set a budget
Use the Money Advice Service Budget Calculator to get a realistic picture of your income and outgoings.
Step 4: Seek advice if you are overspending
If your budget shows that debt repayments are causing real problems, remember to pay the priorities first; rent, mortgage, utilities, council tax etc. And then seek debt advice.
Step 5: Consider consolidating your debts
If you need to spread your debts over a longer period of time, or are paying very high interest rates on credit cards and loans then a consolidation loan might be the answer. Before considering such a course of action you can find some useful tips from the Money Advice Service.
retailCURe provides consolidation loans with rates starting at just 7.4% APR. Loans repayable over up to five years. Some retailers enable you to pay directly from your salary. Find out more.
Step 6: Avoid a debt hangover in 2019 – start saving
Stashing away £10 per week is an easy way to build a £500 budget for Christmas 2018. Giving up just a few bags of crisps or an alcoholic drink each week is probably enough to put aside a tenner.
If you’re lucky to have a lump sum to invest retailCURe offers 12 and 24-month term deposit accounts. If you saved £15,000 at 3% AER that’s £450 interest each year; a substantial contribution to Christmas 2018. Find out more.