How to Cure a Holiday Debt Hangover

How to Cure a Holiday Debt Hangover

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The holidays are over, however hopefully you took away some lasting reminiscences. Some of them had been priceless and others got here at a value.

For the latter, right here is the dangerous information: it’s January and the invoice has come due.

Some name it the “vacation debt hangover,” and this 12 months appears a lot worse than most. An ugly stew of inflation, record-high credit-card charges – and the truth that we had already spent like sailors earlier in 2022, even earlier than the vacations – all spell bother for our 2023 steadiness sheets.

“More than a third of Americans say they overspent this vacation season,” stated Jill Gonzalez, senior analyst for the positioning WalletHub, which canvassed Americans for its Post-Holiday Shopping Survey.

Roughly $80 billion in bank card debt was added within the final quarter of 2022 alone, on prime of the roughly $95 billion racked up within the first three quarters, in accordance to Gonzalez.

“The final months of the 12 months are usually these when individuals add essentially the most debt, nevertheless it’s greater than ever within the context of inflation,” Gonzalez stated.

Some different worrisome findings: 1 / 4 of individuals say they already remorse their vacation purchases. Meanwhile, 22% say it’s going to take three months to repay these vacation payments, 11% say six months, and 13% say it is going to take the entire 12 months, by which era it is going to be Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa once more.

That is what you name a vicious circle, made worse by the truth that many people reside past our means anyway, holidays or not.

“When individuals go into vacation credit-card debt, it’s not just like the bills cease there,” stated Tori Dunlap, creator of the brand new e-book “Financial Feminist” and founding father of the positioning “You placed on one other $200, and one other $500, and instantly you’re in a compound-interest hellscape that you could’t get out of.”

So how can shoppers defuse a debt bomb and ensure it doesn’t explode once more subsequent 12 months? A couple of ideas from the consultants:


You may not know that your credit-card rate of interest typically ticks up together with federal charges. That means common charges have shot up to 19.85%, in accordance to monetary data website Bankrate, the very best on report.

Those sky-high curiosity numbers aren’t going to provide help to assault the debt principal. Think about shifting that debt over to a card the place you’ll pay 0% for an introductory interval.

“My favorites are the Citi Simplicity, the Citi Diamond Preferred, the BankAmericard and the Wells Fargo Reflect,” stated Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior business analyst. “They all supply 0% steadiness switch phrases up to 21 months, the longest available on the market.”


If you’re staring down the barrel of a few thousand {dollars} in debt, you’re going to have to make some robust budgetary decisions. Atlanta monetary planner Niv Persaud recommends shifting month-to-month spending away from non-obligatory classes like leisure or journey, no less than for a whereas.

Other recommendation from Persaud consists of promoting or returning undesirable Christmas items and unsubscribing from shopping-related emails or newsletters, whose temptations will solely make the issue worse.

If potential, dedicate extra hours to your facet hustle, for an extra revenue stream to assist chip away at what you owe, Persaud stated.

If the spending cuts or extra work appear daunting, “remind your self it is solely non permanent till you get your bank card debt to $0,” she stated.


Money is a difficult topic that dredges up a lot of emotional stuff: one’s upbringing, household relationships, emotions of self-worth and so forth. To work out why you’re going into vacation debt, you will have to do that tough emotional work, Dunlap stated.

“Start with why that is taking place within the first place. Do you suppose that ‘Unless I buy costly items for my companion, they don’t seem to be going to love me?’ That’s not a monetary problem – that’s a partnership problem,” Dunlap notes.

To take a few of the spending stress off your self, suppose again to your individual childhood holidays, and what was vital and what was not. Odds are it was not about cash.

“For children to have a nice Christmas, it’s all in regards to the reminiscences created,” Dunlap stated. “Trust me that they’re not even going to keep in mind any of the toys.”

(Reporting by Chris Taylor in New York; Editing by Lauren Young and Matthew Lewis; Follow us @ReutersMoney)

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