A little planning could save you a lot of interest.
- Many consumers regularly rack up credit card debt while on vacation.
- If you want to avoid this fate, now is the time to get organized and start saving.
The holidays may not be on your mind considering it’s only October and fall has barely begun. At the same time, we are only months away from the most wonderful and expensive time of the year.
Even if you promise to keep your vacation spending to a minimum, you could end up racking up a higher credit card balance in November and December than most other months. And the last thing you want is to land in a situation where you’re stuck carrying that balance forward until 2023 because you can’t afford to pay it off.
If your goal is to avoid holiday debt this year, there are steps you can take to get there. But you will have to move quickly.
Check it out: This card has one of the longest 0% interest intro periods.
More: Consolidate your debt with one of these top-rated balance transfer credit cards
1. Assess your available vacation funds
You may have $200 sitting in your savings account that you don’t need for emergency fund purposes. Or, you might have a $100 bonus check from your employer that you haven’t deposited yet.
It’s important to have an idea of how much money you currently have for the holidays, especially since you don’t have a lot of time to save. This should give you a starting point so you can keep your vacation plans realistic.
2. Calculate your non-negotiable vacation expenses
Maybe you go home to visit your parents every Thanksgiving. And maybe it would break your children’s hearts not being able to put up a Christmas tree.
There are some vacation expenses that may be non-negotiable on your book, and that’s okay. The key, however, is to identify what they are and determine how much they are likely to cost you. If you determine that your non-negotiable expenses total $1,000 and you have $300 to work with, that means you have until those vacation bills start rolling in to scrounge up another $700.
3. Increase your savings
Once you know how much shortfall you expect in vacation spending, you can take steps to save that money so you don’t end up with a credit card balance. One option is to drastically reduce expenses for a few months. Will it be difficult? Most likely. But it’s only for a limited period of time, so try to keep that in mind.
Another good way to save extra money for the holidays is to treat yourself to a side gig in addition to your main job. If you’re able to earn an extra $100 a week by the end of December, you might be able to finish the vacation debt-free. And who knows? You may find that you enjoy your side business enough to continue doing it after the holidays are over, increasing your savings for next year’s festivities.
Racking up holiday debt can leave you feeling stressed and frustrated as you prepare for a new year. And that’s not what you want. Rather than take that risk, do your best to avoid holiday debt and the costly interest that can come with it.
The best credit card waives interest until 2024
If you have credit card debt, transfer it to this top balance transfer card guarantees you an introductory APR of 0% for up to 21 months! Plus, you won’t pay any annual fees. These are just a few of the reasons why our experts consider this card a top choice to help you control your debt. Read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.