You know that feeling of dread that sinks in during January?
It's that moment when you wince a bit while opening the mailbox because you just know the credit-card bills are going to look and feel heavier than usual. We're all broke in January, and it stinks.
The worst part about having no cash during this time is the fact that all those fabulous, impossible-to-find gifts that our kids just had to have already are broken, discarded or lost. So unfair.
This is usually when we all start swearing that we will never again wait outside Best Buy or the local mall at 2 a.m. on Black Friday.
We promise ourselves that our kids will not get an over-the-top Christmas ever again and that going forward we will make all our own gifts by hand. Period.
What can we do now that Mr. Credit Card Bill is almost due, and we know we've overspent, and we know we're going to be feeling this punishment for some time? Here's are some suggestions:
1. Face it and move on. We splurged, and now the bill is due. The best thing we can do is pay off that credit-card debt as fast as possible. If that means canceling cable for six months, do it.
There's interest in those credit card bills, and that can add up to quite a significant amount more than what you initially paid for the items. Face the debt, find the money and pay it off fast.
2. Consider having a January garage sale and selling off some items to raise some quick cash. If the thought of opening the garage door in January makes your shiver, use eBay to sell things.
3. Offer your services to family, friends and the neighborhood for some spare dough. You could sell your computer set-up skills, help clueless folks navigate the world of Facebook, tutor students in math, teach piano lessons or use whatever other talents you possess. Every bit helps, and every bit should be sent directly to the credit card company.
The goal is to get to February with a paid-off credit card balance and a goal to not go so crazy next year. Good luck!
Paula Sirois is a Florida-based writer who specializes in family life and frugal living for www.RetailMeNot.com.