Holiday Debt Hangover

Dreading those nasty credit card bills?Here's how to get your finances backon track after the holidays.

has one car note. “Because I have a company car, I decided to pay off my car, which had a three-year loan, by borrowing against my 401(k),” says Marty. “I ended up saving almost $400 per month, which we used toward debt.” Marty then paid off the 401(k) loan within a year. By putting their heads together and making the commitment to pay down debt and live within their means, the couple was able to purchase a larger house when they applied for a home loan.

Remember to save. “Many people feel it’s wrong to save while you’re in debt,” says Hunt. “But saving helps to eliminate that ‘poor me’ attitude that credit card companies want to ‘fix’ for us.” And it also reminds us that we’re responsible for our future. “We’re not going to wake up one day and be debt-free — there is no fairy godmother,” says Stephens. “When you realize that you’re spending $600 a month on debt and that money could be going toward investing in a comfortable future, your priorities will change.” And that holiday debt hangover will be a thing of the past.

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