After the flourish and the upcoming finale to the holidays, the credit card bills are probably sitting on the side of your desk or unopened in your inbox because you already know that looking at them will spoil your holiday happiness. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare to review the damage.
– Credit card companies are sending out offers for new cards like crazy (still), hoping that you will want to at least switch a balance over from one of your old cards. This may or may not be a good deal. Make sure you check out if they have any fees (start up, monthly, and annual fees are common). If you currently do not have any fees, don’t make the switch, even if it is a lower interest rate (unless it is a substantially lower interest rate) because the fees will negate what you would save.
– Call your credit card company to see if they will lower your interest rate. Particularly if your credit score has improved, companies are going to want to keep you on. The threat of switching to a different card is often enough to convince them to drop your APR, and that means a lot of extra savings every year.
– Determine which credit card has the biggest balance and which results in the highest interest payments (this may not always be the same card). Make sure that is the card that you make extra payments to next year so that you pay as little in interest as possible.
– Consider switching balances on current credit cards. If you have a card nearly paid off, see if they will lower your interest rate, finish paying it off, then switch the balance from a higher interest rate card. Odds are good the company will even be willing to waive the transfer fee just to keep you paying them on a regular basis.
If you start out 2016 with a credit card plan, you can quickly get your holiday expenses under control. PIMYU really comes into its own at this time of year because you can look up balances, payments and how much is owed in total (make sure that you don’t have any identifying account numbers, etc. listed). If you keep the records up to date you have all of the financial information easily available.