If you went a little over your holiday budget, you’re not alone. According to Forbes, Americans spend nine times more on retail shopping during December than any other season. For a lot of people, that means incurring debt. But if you manage it right, credit cards and loans can actually work in your favor.
Here’s how you can be smart with your debt
• Don’t be fooled by 0 percent interest. The interest could be hidden in a higher price or charged up front.
• Never use credit (debt) to pay for anything you are able to purchase outright with cash.
• If you must use a credit card, pay the entire balance when you get the bill.
• Avoid impulse purchases. If you can’t pay cash for something, take a day or two to decide if you really need it.
• If you have high-interest loans, consider consolidating them for a lower interest loan.
Even the most financially-savvy people can run into problems. Use your free EAP benefit for support when you’re feeling uneasy about your finances. The EAP offers:
• A free, 30-minute phone consultation with a financial expert
• An online financial resource library of articles, FAQs and webinars
• Budgeting calculators for investments, loans, savings, taxes and more
• Counselors that can help you cope with money-related stress.
Call or go online to access thousands of resources on financial wellness and other behavioral health services.