10 tips to pay off holiday debt as quickly as possible

Your holiday spending is over and the bills are starting to come in.

But what if you don't have enough money to pay all the bills in full?

Experts say you need a plan of attack.

While the simplest get-out-of-debt plan is to return the expensive gifts you bought for yourself, we both know that's not going to happen.

Experts say borrowing more to pay off your bills shouldn't happen either.

The non-profit credit counseling organization Take Charge America says your number one priority should be to not charge anything until the balances are paid off.

Next, find a way to make payments greater than the minimum credit card payment.

Here's why:

Take a $1,000 television charged to a card with 18% interest. If you pay it off in a month, it cost you $1,000. If you make the $25 minimum payments for 62 months, it costs $1,550.  If you can afford something in the middle, say $50 a month, it brings the cost down to $1,200.

Take Charge America says if you can't do this, you need to make changes.

Obviously, try making more money at your job.

But, also look for assets you can sell, like vehicles or jewelry. Consider cutting cable TV for a while, eating out, or your morning coffee.

The quicker you can get out of debt, the less it will cost you.

Bottom line, don't spend money you don't have.

That may mean putting those credit cards away or even cutting them up and using cash until you get out of debt.

And then working out a spending budget for your future.

Take Charge America can help with debt and setting up your budget.

E-mail me with any consumer issue you have or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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