Fall is finally here and we are wrapping up our summer adventures. While travel has decreased this summer, recreational activities have increased. From dining out to streaming services to concerts, people are choosing to stay local this summer. While accommodation isn’t as expensive as a traditional vacation, the cost can add up quickly.
In terms of bringing, late summer is probably the best time to start saving, as it gives you time to recover before the upcoming holidays. So, if you’re wondering how to pay for everything, check out the suggestions below to see what works best for you.
The first step in any financial recovery is to identify the problem. The best place to start is to figure out how much you are overspending. For example, you might have set a specific limit on personal shopping and you decide to repeat it a few times. Or maybe your favorite musicians come to town for a concert and you won’t miss the chance to meet them. Once you recognize how or what caused your debt, you’ll know which habits to break.
The Most Common Types of Short-Term Summer Debt
Credit cards charge interest, which automatically increases the bill. The more you spend, the more interest you pay. It can also make it difficult for you to stop using your card because you may need it to pay other bills or services that don’t fit debit or cash. Separating splurges from recurring recurring expenses can feel tedious unless you’ve been checking your statements.
Still, credit cards have some benefits, as the issuer provides tools to help manage your account and even pay off certain fees. For example, American Express’s Pay It, Plan It tool charges over $100.
As far as long-term debt solutions go, a loan can be a good option. On the one hand, you can make fixed monthly payments and know how long the loan term is. This is also convenient for larger purchases, as the interest is likely to be lower than that of a credit card.
However, the downside is that loans are designed to be as long as possible. Often, even for smaller balances, loan terms can be delayed by 15 years or more. There are also a lot of predatory loan services out there, so it’s crucial to read the loan terms before signing.
This one is unstable in its own way. If you end up in an accident or lose your job, you have a small safety net. Also, if you’re working for a low income, it’s hard to catch up as fees go up. However, the benefit may be the lack of debt you owe yourself. This puts you in a better position when you can save again.
Organization will be critical if you have accumulated multiple types of debt. With debt in so many places, it can often feel overwhelming and it’s easy to forget the due date and amount. In these cases, review your account and see where you are most affected. From there, calculate your total debt so you know how much you need to settle.
Develop a plan to pay off debt
Once you organize your debt, you can develop a plan to pay it off. There are various ways to pay off debt, such as:
- Snowball method: Repay the debt from the smallest amount owed to the largest
- Avalanche method: Pay off your debt, starting with the largest amount owed and working your way to the smallest amount
- Debt Consolidation: The lender pays all your debts and transfers them into a loan that you can make monthly payments
- 50/30/20 Rule: 50% of income is used for needs, 30% is used for needs, and 20% is used for savings. While usually a budget plan, if you factor repayment into your needs, it can be a great way to pay off debt and save.
No matter which method you take, the most important part is remembering when and where the due date is.
Paying off debt can be a very daunting process, but the only way to get rid of that feeling is to take action. Not only do you have many options, but there are also plenty of resources to support you in managing your debt. If you’re worried your budget is only going so far, this year’s show work is coming back strong. This gives you a lot of opportunities to make money as needed.
If the thought of having to leave still makes you nervous, know that your brain will thank you in the long run because the psychological effects of getting out of debt are generally positive. You’ll feel less stressed and more confident in yourself, which leaves room to pursue other goals.
So, don’t hesitate. As long as you have a plan, do it.
What to Know When Paying Off Summer Debt
Remember, repayment isn’t always about numbers, it’s about how we prepare for the changes to come. As you reconsider your financial situation, keep in mind:
Use the tools available to you
Preparing for success is more than just making a plan. It also means having tools that help ease the burden and hold you accountable. If you need to keep track of your overall spending, you might find a budget app useful. For those of you who don’t want to think about it, setting up automatic transfers on your card can take a lot of stress away. You can also sign up for a debt management program for more hands-on support, especially as you work with debt collectors.
Credit cards are also great for debt control if used properly. A nice feature is the introduction of APR offers, which allow cardholders to temporarily waive interest. Most range from 12 months to 21 months, giving you the opportunity to significantly reduce your debt. There are also balance transfer credit cards that can transfer some or all of your credit card debt to another card, giving you the opportunity to start over and improve your credit utilization.
Debt can last a long time, but when you actively work to reduce it, it won’t last forever. As of June 2022, the average American has $5,521 in credit card debt. If you pay $500 a month on this debt, that means it will be paid off in 11 months. But you may not always be able to provide $500 per month. Some months, you may only have $250 or less. If this happens, don’t be discouraged. Recovery has nothing to do with how quickly you get your zero balance, but whether you do it responsibly.
Fall has always been the perfect season for change. As the weather begins to cool, you may begin to feel the urge to settle down, restructure, and simplify your spending. Focusing on recovery not only gives you time to think about what you really need, but it’s also a great time to financially prepare for the upcoming vacation. Even better, it gives you the opportunity to improve your approach to budgeting so you can still have fun next summer without getting yourself into a negative situation.