How to avoid the traps of Debtcember

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Take a listen to the discussion on Cape Talk radio about this topic and post. We ramble on a bit but it was a great chat.

It’s funny how we’ve developed new names for the December and January months. You’ll see variations such as Debt-cember, DebtDecember, Janu-worry and Januwarry. The reason for these names is that we generally rack up crazy debt in December whilst celebrating the end of the year holidays, Christmas and general “silly season” things. And then comes January and the reality of it all hits. You know that sinking feeling of wondering how you’ll pay for things? That’s called Januworry.

So what can we do to avoid debt this December? Here are your 3 tips. But don’t just readythem…. TAKE ACTION!

3 Tips to avoid debt this December

1 – Make a spending plan… and stick to it!

This probably seems so obvious and you’ve most likely heard it a hundred times. Whether you call it a budget or a spending plan we all know that it’s something we’re meant to do.

It really doesn’t need to be hard or overly complicated. You know how much money you have right now (have a look in your bank account and your wallet) and jot down when you next get paid and then see how you can make your money last.

You may need to use a bit of credit if you’re already over-extended but the idea for this month and going forward is to not use credit, or to at least use less credit each month until you’ve actually paid your debt off.

Free Budgeting Course

Making a spending is your way to take charge of your finances and to really sort things out. Even though we’re heading into the year end festivities and holiday period it’s better to understand upfront how much you can really afford to spend and then stick to your plan.

Here’s a post on how to make a simple budget and for a more in-depth look you can sign-up for the free budgeting course.

2 – Look after yourself first

This may sound terribly selfish and quite absurd considering it’s the Festive Season. You almost certainly want to spoil your loved ones with lavish gifts and awesome experiences. There’s nothing wrong with that but looking after yourself first means that you’ll gift and spoil people in a responsible way.

It’s really tough heading into the new year with debt and financial stress! Especially considering that the spending doesn’t simply stop after December. January will start with back to school items for kids, birthdays and other commitments. And then we head to Valentines day and as the year progresses we’ll always find reasons to spend money!

Take an honest look at your finances and look after your financial well-being.

3 – Get to grips with how much your current debt is costing you!

If you already have debt (which is almost everyone!) then take some time to work out how bad the situation is. Take a look at all your credit card statements, bank overdraft and store cards and work out how much you owe.

You can use this awesome free worksheet to track all your debt and it also includes sections to help you figure out where your money actually goes to.

Once you’ve worked out your debt start looking at the fees and costs involved. Admin fees, bank charges, membership fees and the all important interest charges! Just work out how much it’s all costing you.

To close…

December doesn’t need to be Debtcember and your January certainly doesn’t need to end up being a Januworry. Rather take a little time and effort to plan the month which will help you make the best of it without the stress and worries of whether you can afford things or not.

Please share your thoughts