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Dealing with C-Day – The dreaded first credit card bill after Christmas

While it’s certainly not recommended, many people overspend during the Christmas period.

Families are under immense pressure to give the best gifts to one another, resorting to credit cards to pay for anything that their bank accounts can’t cover.

The amount we splash on presents rises every year, with statistics from the Centre For Retail Research estimating that each person in the UK will spend around £243 on their friends and family in 2017. With the average household in approximately £2,559 of credit card debt as of last October, that number is only set to rise after the 25th December, making the start of 2018 an exceptionally stressful one four households all over the country.

Dubbed ‘C-Day’, the 10th of January is when most people will have received their first credit card bill after Christmas. A difficult and upsetting experience, the festive cheer is over and the reality of debt sinks in.

While it might be a bad situation to be in, owing money is far from the end of the world. As with all debt, there is always a way to regain control of your financial situation, and our tips should help anyone struggling with C-Day to get things back on track:

Stay calm

It’s easy to let debt stress overwhelm you, but staying calm on C-Day is essential. You can’t sensibly assess your situation without a level head.

Though feelings of depression and anxiety associated with debt can be difficult to ignore, you should never take any desperate measures or let these negative emotions affect your relationships. Remember that thousands of other people are in exactly the same situation. You just need to step back for a second and consider your options.

It won’t take long to realise that there are plenty of ways to pay off any money owed. Once you have these in mind, things should feel a lot more hopeful.

Figure out what you owe

First things first, you need to figure out how much you owe.

If you only have a single credit card, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If you have several cards, overdrafts and other loans, things may be a little more complicated. As a starting point, gather all of the different methods you used to fund Christmas and their relevant invoices.

It may be helpful to set up a spreadsheet with the different amounts owed, interest applied to each, minimum monthly payments expected by your creditors and your total amount to pay overall.

Stop spending

As obvious as it is, the best way to pay money back is to stop spending it. Stop using all credit cards completely, and refrain from any unnecessary outgoings (i.e. anything that isn’t bills or other living costs).

The less you spend, the more you’ll have available to pay off your credit card at the end of the month. It’s always better to clear your card as quickly as possible to avoid interest charges and other fees mounting in the background.

You may have to cut out luxury purchases for a considerable amount of time to balance the books again, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re on the road to a debt-free future.

Decide on a plan of action

Now that everything’s in order, it’s time to decide on how you’re going to tackle your repayments.

You should always prioritise the debts with the highest interest rates to avoid paying more back in the long-run. Depending on the amount owed, you may look into consolidation, a Debt Management Plan, or even an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.

It’s important that you thoroughly research and consider every option available before making a decision. Not all debt-relief legislations cover credit card debt, and some can have related consequences that you may not be aware of.

Seek expert help

If you’re unsure on which debt solution is right for you, don’t worry! Help is out there.

Services like Money Advisor offer free, no-obligation advice from seasoned financial experts. Whatever your situation, we’ve dealt with it before, and can give you the information you need to make the right choice.

Let us help you say goodbye to C-Day debt. Get in touch on 0161 820 1913 or fill out our online form and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are struggling with credit card debt, Money Advisor may be able to help. Find out how we can help you reduce your repayments and consolidate them into one monthly payment of as little as £80. Contact us today for expert, confidential advice with no obligation.

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