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Silly Season Survival Guide - 5 Things To Try If You're Having Trouble Covering The Bills During Holiday Season

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If you’re struggling to keep your head above water due to debt this Holiday season, it may not be possible to be as generous as you’d like. The good news is, you don’t have to be a big spender to show the people in your life that you love them. Follow these five tips to make sure the bills get paid during the frantic holiday season. 

  1. Assess your debt to income ratio

You’ll do much better if you know for sure that you have a healthy debt to income ratio. To figure it out, add up all your monthly payments and divide them by your monthly income. 

The magic number you’re looking for is 43%. Anything higher than that, and lenders might start turning you away. To lower this ratio, make sure to pay off your debt and look for credit card alternatives with better rates and terms. There are plenty of low-interest loans for low to middle-income earners that you can take out to pay off more interest-heavy accounts. 

  1. Check your credit score

Checking your credit score at Christmas might seem counterintuitive, but those three digits greatly affect many aspects of your life. It’s ideal if you can keep your score in the 700s. But, if you find yourself falling short, the holiday season is a good time to sober up and do some financial housecleaning. 

The best way to improve your credit score is to pay bills on time. Simplify your life by setting up automatic monthly payments so you don’t miss a single deadline. Then you can spend whatever is left over, free in the knowledge that your bills are covered. 

  1. Plan properly for the holidays

It’s always best to make a budget for December at least two months in advance because spending can get out of control once you’re in the thick of things. Don’t forget to account for incidentals such as party gifts, rides home, and charitable giving. 

  1. Stick to a budget 

The pressure to overspend during the holiday season can be overwhelming. The best way to stay on top of things is to always go shopping with a list – and stick to it! Avoid taking money from an emergency fund or savings account, and don’t spend more than you can pay back in one month. If you have credit card problems, don’t take them shopping. Bring cash or use debit cards.

  1. Keep sight of what’s important

Part of the reason why this time of year is called the silly season is that we spend so much time, energy, effort, and most importantly, money on things that don’t really matter.

Save your money and spend your time generously instead. Help your parents to prepare food, or offer to babysit your nieces and nephews so your siblings can enjoy a date night.

The bottom line is this: there are many ways to bond with your loved ones without spending a dime. 

As you can see, the holiday season isn’t all about money. Spending time with loved ones will mean a lot more than buying expensive gadgets. Make this a year when the holidays don’t create financial stress. Find different ways to show the people in your life you love them without spending money, and keep your eye on the ball, no matter how tempted you are to throw caution to the wind and splurge.

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