During the holidays, people need to learn to make a choice between credit cards and cash ; they should not use both, says Iris D. Atkinson-Kirkland
, a debt management consultant in New York City and a lifetime member of the National Association of Black Accountants and the National Black MBA Association.But what if you overextend yourself this season with credit card debt.
Once you clear away the tinsel and pine, you need to pack away your credit cards, too.This may be only temporarily, until you get your finances back on track.Your New Year's resolution should be to develop a credit plan by paying as much as possible each month to wipe out your debt quickly.
Create and adhere to a budget.You need to create a budget so that you know how much money you have to put toward your credit card bills, says Atkinson-Kirkland
, and figure out the maximum amount you can pay each month..
Tackle smallest balances first.Start by spreading out all of your statements.What are the outstanding balances? What are the interest rates? Prioritize by paying off the credit card with the smallest balance.This do not mean paying the minimum amount due over the next 12 months, says Atkinson-Kirkland
.But if you have a $ 400 outstanding balance, pay $ 200 now and pay off the [ remaining ] $ 200 over the next couple of months.Then, tackle the next smallest balance.All the while, you are making payments on your other credit cards..
Cut back on unnecessary spending.If you are feeling a financial squeeze, you might be wondering where the money is going to come from to pay off your debt.