Christmas Leftovers

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Christmas Leftovers

Christmas is the time of good cheer but when the guests have all gone and the wrapping paper and dishes have been cleared away, there are the leftovers to contend with. Unfortunately, for many families, the most problematic leftovers are debts. Just like turkey and trifle, left over debt needs to be packaged up, cooled off and dealt with as soon as possible. Start with a quick assessment of your financial situation; how much cash you have on hand, and how much you owe. List your debts in order, ranked according to the interest rate you are paying and noting the amount owed and the minimum monthly payment. Now look at whether you can refinance any of your debts at a lower interest rate. There are many different rates available from banks and other lending institutions. Here are some options:

  • You may be able to increase your mortgage to repay credit card or hire purchase debt
  • Assets other than your house such as a car or an insurance policy can be used as security for a loan, so you can borrow at a lower interest rate.
  • Shop around for a low interest credit card
  • Contact a finance company that offers debt consolidation to see if you can reduce your interest cost

With all of these options you will need to be aware of any penalties, additional administration or insurance costs that may be incurred. Once you have shopped around for the best interest rate, plough all your spare cash into reducing the debt at the top of your list by increasing your regular payments, making lump sum payments, or both. Your goal should be to have no debt other than a mortgage and to then repay your mortgage as quickly as possible while still enjoying life.

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