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How to Pay Off Your Holiday Credit Balance

You always start with the best of intentions, but it happens – that “credit creep” when you find yourself running out to buy one more unexpected gift or menu item.
Holiday credit card bills can be a big cause of stress for many.

For a variety of reasons many Albertans experience a credit hangover in January.  Here are some tips on paying off the balance.

Redirect Money from Costly Habits

When paying off credit cards, every dollar counts. Take a look at your spending habits and determine which ones can be let go. Use the money you would spend on those habits to pay down your balance. For example, the daily coffee run to Starbucks, paying for subscription services or streaming that you no longer use (or consider dropping down a tier on these services), TV packages that can be reduced, lottery tickets, magazine subscriptions (go digital or check out Hoopla – it’s free with your library card), etc.

Be Aware of the Interest

Just paying the minimum balance is not going to make any headway. The interest will eat up the payment and in the long run, you’ll pay more far more for your items than intended. Learn how to calculate how much interest you will pay on your purchases and set yourself a new minimum balance – one that will reduce the total amount within a reasonable timeframe.


High interest makes it very difficult to pay off a large balance. Consider moving the balance to a low interest card so you can pay it off faster.

The Snowball Method

The snowball, or rollover, method is a longstanding solution for debt relief. This means paying off the small debts as fast as possible, then rolling that payment onto the next largest debt, and so on. There are many snowball calculators online that will help you with this method.

Get Help

If the Christmas debt comes on top of an already unmanageable debt load, it may be time to seek help. The stress of debt can affect mental health and relationships. If you are up late at night with money worries or fighting with friends and family about money, reach out for help. Non-profit credit counselling and debt consolidation organizations such as Money Mentors offer advice and a path forward. Also consider therapy to address underlying issues that drive excess spending, or to help mend relationships.

The holidays are wonderful time to spend with friends and family, but money worries can turn January into a very stressful month. This year, if your credit card balance is too high, take action and control. Help is available.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. The editorial content and views expressed in the articles are not those of and the Alberta Securities Commission. Learn more.
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