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7 ways to cure a holiday debt hangover

7 On Your Side with Nina Pineda
Seven On Your Side
January 18, 2013 2:56:38 PM PST
No shortage of holiday spending that put many people in debt for the first time ever, according to comScore, which analyzes our digital world.

The National Retail Federation says holidays sales were up this year, totaling $579-billion. Most of the spending went toward cars, clothes and electronics. Upwards of $82-billion was spent on food and drinks alone. Online shopping over the holidays topped $40-billion.

It's no wonder we have a "spending hangover!" We have 7 tips to help cure that hangover.

1. FACE YOUR FINANCES

Yahoo's "Financially Fit" host Farnoosh Torabi says step 1 to getting healthy again is a simple reality check: face your finances

"Go on line, log on, check your balance - savings, your checking. Knowing where you stand is a huge part of this battle," Torabi said.

2. CASH ONLY

Next make a pledge to go green, use cash and debit your way out of the hole.

One couple, both 30 year olds, wrote to Torabi on Facebook. They did managed to get out of debt in a year's time by "eating out" less and "cutting out" plastic altogether.

Another couple automated all of their bill payment. That's "essential" says the expert to prioritizing your debt in a budget.

3. MAKE A PAYDOWN PLAN

Websites like ReadyForZero.com and Mint.com can help by showing you exactly what you need to pay monthly and how long it will take you to pay off bill.

"You can hook up your checking account to this website and pay down your debt automatically," Torabi said. "In some cases, these websites really help you pay down that debt faster than you would on your own."

4. TIGHTEN YOUR BELT

Put yourself on a spending diet. Do you need the gym membership or can you exercise outside free?

"Maybe that means instead of cable you go back to basic and watch TV online, or go to a neighbor's house to watch Showtime," Torabi said.

5. SELL UNWANTED GIFTCARDS

Sell those unwanted gift cards gathering dust in a drawer

"There are websites out there where you can sell you gift cards like GiftCardGranny.com and GiftCards.com, and even Craigslist," she said.

6. SELL OLD ELECTONICS

Another asset to liquidate is your old electronics, which may be worth more than you think.

"You can go to a site like Gazelle.com or NextWorth.com and cash in on these lucrative thing that can help you pay down your debt quicker," Torabi said.

7. RETURN UNWANTED PRESENTS

If you're not into it, take it back. So many stores have no questions asked policies. Take advantage of it.

CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE


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