Now that the holiday spending is over-it's time to pay the bills. Lucky for us, Maribel Aber, Better's finance and career expert stopped by better to give us some tips and advice on how to pay for all of our holiday purchases.
Audra Lowe: Starting with your money, which is very important. Now that the holiday spending is over, it's time to pay those bills, and lucky for us Maribel Aber, Better's financing career expert is here on Better to give us some tips and she has also got some advice on how to pay for those holiday purchases. Good to see you again Maribel, thanks so much for joining us. Maribel Audra: Always pleasure! Audra Lowe: You know a lot of people enjoy the family gatherings and meals of course may gain a few pounds, but you also might to gain some extra bills, when it comes to the credit card statements. Lot of people wondering, hey, how do I pay for it, I bought it? Now, how I pay for it? What do you say about it? Maribel Aber: Exactly and nobody is immune to it right? Audra Lowe: Right, right. Maribel Aber: I think they say, the average family would actually spend $600 to $1,000 just on exact on holiday debt, and a lot of it goes to the credit card, not surprising. Audra Lowe: The big sting comes when you see that statement in the mail though that's when it really hits you, right? Maribel Aber: That's when it hits you, and the trick is to get ahead of it. You want to get ahead of that debt, because a lot of times people wait until the middle of the year, and then it's a middle of the year and getting ready for the next holiday segment. Audra Lowe: Double for the gift that you ended up giving somebody. Maribel Aber: Exactly. Audra Lowe: You've got a couple of different tips -- some easy tips for people to follow and you start off with finding out how much we owe, seems pretty obvious but - right? Maribel Aber: Very obvious. Well, we are waiting for that bill. Right? So instead of waiting for the bill, jump online, figure out where you are, pull your statements quickly, then you know that. The second step is once you figure that out, set a payment schedule for yourself because you want the target. Audra Lowe: Specifically for those purchases though. Maribel Aber: Specifically those purchases. So you know boom! I've achieved paying for my holiday debt. So once you figure out how much time, then you can figure out how much you need to put towards paying off that debt. Audra Lowe: The third step that you have those, a lot of people are going to say, it seems pretty obvious but we all need to remind here and there, just don't add on any extra charges, right? Maribel Aber: Don't add on extra charges because then I will harp on this, and you'll hear me harp on this all the time. Audra Lowe: You will. Maribel Aber: Now you will -- that you don't want your APR to go skyrocket, because most of the money that you end up spending on paying that interest as opposed to paying down the debt. So don't put new charges on. Audra Lowe: You also talk about something that's called a payment strategy. What do you mean as far as it relates to this? Maribel Aber: Payment strategy, well, it's a different sort of payment ways that you can get out of debt, and I'll talk about 8 really quick ones. And the first one is to consolidate your debt. Take all the cards and put it onto one low interest card. So that you're paying one thing at a lower interest rate. Another way to do it is paying off the -- I talked about the high APR interest rate card, that's the ones you are paying the most for. So pay it off first and then pay the remaining ones for the rest and repeat that step, repeat that step. Audra Lowe: When you say we evaluate the big ticket purchases, well can you do after the fact though, you just think about it or is it --? Maribel Aber: Well, the big purchase is like your life insurance, like your car insurance, and you want to make sure that you are getting competitive rates, so that you can trim a little bit and be able to reset that back to the holiday debt, if you can bring it down. Audra Lowe: Things that you do have to pay that you can possibly cut back to and what about when it comes to your taxes, filing the taxes? Maribel Aber: File them early, if you can file them early, you can get that money early and you can immediately put that towards your holiday debts. Audra Lowe: Okay, Maribel also says we should be brown bagging it for at least a couple of months, so are you doing that? Maribel Aber: Brown bagging -- you know what, look you put on the pounds from all the holiday eating why not brown bag it, just focus on the necessities. Audra Lowe: Okay, then a short term job, think about getting a little job on the side just to pay for those holiday expenses. Maribel Aber: Even if it's a hobby, if you can monetize a hobby and you could do it for little while, why not. Audra Lowe: Okay, and your last tip is to return any unused gifts, right? If you have any left over to return them. Maribel Aber: If you have any left over especially if you can get the credit back or cash back, that's always something to think about. Audra Lowe: Okay, hopefully you don't have a whole lot of expenses. There is a lot of different way that you -- creative ways that you come up with in terms of paying off the credit cards but you say the most important thing that we need to do is to really focus on next year, right? In terms of planning. Maribel Aber: You want to be proactive that's the number one thing you can do. So set up your holiday fund now. I mean even if its $25 a week, set it now and I call that emergency fund because you don't know you're going to have the holidays coming up and birthdays and anniversaries, they are all going to come up, then be prepared. Audra Lowe: Alright. Thank you so much, Maribel, we appreciate it. Maribel Aber: Absolutely! 3