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Though the holidays are filled with fun, food and festivities, a recent survey conducted by Credit Karma found that, “…over 25% of Americans expect to go into debt for the holidays.” As American’s rush from store to website and website to store trying to get the latest deals and the newest gadgets for those they love, the painstaking task of catching up to pay down bills can become overwhelming.

According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, “…only 44 percent of households have more money in emergency savings than the amount they owe in credit card debt” with 29 percent of those surveyed “…having more credit card debt than emergency savings…” With one in five Americans expecting to “…die while still in debt”, it’s no wonder the holiday season can cause people to feel anxious and depressed.

If you want to pay off your holiday bills, these 4 simple tips will help you earn some extra cash and pay down debt so that you can start this new year on the right financial foot!

Online Sales

Used books, DVD’s, CD’s, electronics and other valuables can be sold online through Amazon, eBay, Bonanza and more. Sort through items within your home, garage sales and thrift stores to find items that sell for a substantial sum. Some people have even found selling online to be so lucrative, they keep their inventory in a self-storage unit, creating a successful little business to use towards savings or vacation after their debt is paid off.

Work For Yourself

If you have a car, you can work on your own time driving for Favor, Uber, GrubHub or Instacart. Ride-sharing and delivery services allow you to work as much as you want within your schedule, providing you with the opportunity to earn an unlimited amount of income. Infact, Uber drivers have reported making as much as $1,000 per week, which can certainly help you pay off your holiday debt quickly!

Rent Out Your Home

Do you live close to a sports arena, airport, or large city? If you are travelling, consider renting out your home while you and your family are away this year. It’s been reported that some properties have earned owners more that $900 per month, which is a pretty great chunk of change. Best of all, with self-storage units located in nearly every neighborhood, you can easily keep important documents and valuables off site to ensure your personal belongings remain safe.

Pay Down Your Debt

Once you find a means of earning extra cash, you need to figure out a payment plan to tackle your debt. The two main debt reduction methods are the snowball method and the avalanche payment method.

  • The snowball method is, “…a debt reduction strategy where you pay off debt in order of smallest to largest, gaining momentum as you knock out each balance. When the smallest debt is paid in full, you roll the money you were paying on that debt into the next smallest balance.”
  • The avalanche method is when you prioritize  “…paying off your debt balances with the highest interest rate or APR. You begin by paying your highest-interest-debt balance first. Once you eliminate that balance, you take the funds you’d been using for those payments and put them toward your next-highest-interest balance, all while making the minimum payments on the rest of your debt.”

While there are pros and cons to each of these methods, either one is a great tool to use to become debt-free.

Remember, the holidays are not just about “stuff”. While it’s nice to give and receive gifts, it is important to keep in mind what matters: the love we share for one another and the memories we will cherish for a lifetime. In the words of Calvin Coolidge, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday and a debt-free New Year!