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Tolu Frimpong presents a festive guide to debt freedom. Understand debt, create a repayment plan, leverage festive opportunities, stay motivated, avoid traps, and embrace minimalism for a debt-free New Year.
The holiday season is in full swing, and while the lights are twinkling and the festive spirit is in the air, it’s also the time of year when our wallets and purses can take a huge hit.
Rather than letting the ghosts of your financial past haunt you, take a proactive approach to sleighing your debt and embrace a debt-free New Year. In this festive guide, we’ll explore some simple, yet practical steps that you can take in order to help you navigate the holiday season while making significant steps toward debt freedom.
Understand your debt
Before diving into the financial festivities, it’s essential to take a moment to understand your current financial landscape. Create a detailed list of your debts, stating exactly how much you owe and to who.
Write the list of all your creditors down in order of smallest to largest amount. Next to each amount write down the interest. This step is crucial for prioritising which debts to tackle first, laying the groundwork for a strategic debt repayment plan.
Create a debt repayment plan
During this festive season, set realistic financial goals for yourself. Establish a budget that includes a holiday spending limit, allocating funds specifically for debt repayment.
Consider exploring additional income sources, such as overtime or reselling to give your Christmas budget a festive boost and increase the amount of extra money you have available for debt repayment.
Tactical tips for debt reduction
When it comes to tackling debt, there are two main categories: the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods. The snowball method focuses on paying off the smallest debt first for quick wins and motivation.
In contrast, the avalanche method prioritises the highest-interest debt to minimise overall interest payments in the long run. The choice between them depends on personal preferences and financial goals—quick progress with the snowball method or long-term interest savings with the avalanche method.
Leverage festive opportunities
Turn the holiday season into an opportunity for debt reduction. You can do this by putting any holiday bonuses and gifts toward your outstanding balances. Get creative with gift-giving
by opting for DIY gifts or participating in gift exchanges. Every penny or pound saved or earned during this festive period can contribute to your journey towards debt freedom.
Stay motivated and accountable
Embarking on a debt-free journey is no easy task, but staying motivated is key. Increase morale and motivation by celebrating small wins along the way, as well as tapping into a selective support system of friends or family who understand your financial goals, and can hold you accountable to the goals in which you’ve set yourself.
Avoid holiday debt traps
While holiday sales and tempting promotions are all around you during this festive season, resist the urge to succumb to impulse buying.
Rethink some of your more expensive family traditions and celebrations and instead focus on the joy of spending time with loved ones rather than the material aspects of the season. Avoiding these debt traps will help you avoid digging a deeper debt hole.
Why not consider adopting a minimalist approach to gift-giving and holiday celebrations?
By focusing on meaningful experiences and quality time with loved ones over accumulating material possessions, you’ll not only reduce the financial strain, you will also align with a more intentional and mindful lifestyle.
Financial education for the New Year
Finally, as the New Year swiftly approaches, make a resolution to invest in your financial education.
Learning more about budgeting, investing, and building financial resilience can empower you to make informed decisions and avoid debt pitfalls in the future.
Photo Credits: Pexels
Tolu is a Money Coach and Content Creator, passionate about helping others break the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial goals, through the power of intentional budgeting, saving and investing. When she’s not talking about money you can find her spending time with her 3 boisterous boys.