Designed by Cursive Media

Ditch Debt for Good: Credit Resolutions to Make This Holiday Season

Joe Mahlow avatar

by Joe Mahlow •  Updated on Dec. 27, 2023

Ditch Debt for Good: Credit Resolutions to Make This Holiday Season
A caption for the above image.

You know the holidays are here when the credit card bills start rolling in. Between the gifts, travel, food, and festivities, your debt balance has probably crept up without you even realizing it. But what if this year could be different? Imagine starting the new year with a clean financial slate and a plan to avoid debt for good. Sound impossible? Think again. With a few smart credit resolutions, you can ditch debt for good and ensure this is the last holiday season you ring in with regret over spending sprees past.

Table of Contents

How Debt Is Holding You Back

Take Inventory of Your Current Debt

Make a Plan to Pay Down Debt in the New Year

Reduce Spending on Holiday Gifts and Travel

Start an Emergency Fund to Avoid New Debt

Fresh Money Saving Ideas for A New Year

Seek Help From a Reliable Credit Repair Company


How Debt Is Holding You Back

Everyone knows debt can cause financial stress and make saving more difficult, but did you know it impacts way more than just your bottom line? Being in debt can negatively impact your:

• Health: Carrying high debt loads is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.

• Relationships: Money issues are a leading cause of conflict between partners and can strain family ties.

• Career: Some employers check applicants' credit reports and may view high debt levels as a red flag. Debt can also distract you at work.

• Retirement: The more debt you have, the less you'll be able to save for the future. Each dollar in debt is a dollar that's not invested.

• Happiness: Research shows people with debt report lower life satisfaction and more negative emotions.

So as you think about ditching debt for good this year, remember it's about much more than just the money. Improving your financial health in a major way can positively impact all areas of your life. Resolving to get out of debt once and for all in the coming year is a resolution worth making.

Take Inventory of Your Current Debt

The holidays often mean increased spending, but they're also a perfect time to take stock of your financial situation and set money goals for the new year.

Take Inventory of Your Current Debt

• Track Everything. Make a list of all your credit cards, loans, and other debts including the balances and interest rates. See where you stand so you can make a realistic payoff plan. Maybe you have a few small balances you can knock out quickly or high-interest debts you want to tackle first.

• Find Options. Look for ways to lower rates, like calling credit card companies to request a lower APR or consolidating high-interest debts through a personal loan with a lower fixed rate. Every little bit helps when paying off debt.

• Reminder works. Set a regular debt payoff schedule for each month and pay at least the minimums, preferably more when you're able. Automate payments if possible so you never miss one.

• Avoid Spending. Consider temporarily reducing expenses like dining out or entertainment to put more towards debt each month. Make it a team effort with family members also working to reduce debt. You'll get there faster by working together.

• Acknowledge progress. Celebrate milestones along the way to stay motivated. Give yourself rewards for paying off each card or loan, but don't spend money - do something free like a movie night at home

With determination and discipline, you absolutely can conquer your debt and start the new year fresh. Make a debt payoff plan and resolution to stick with it. Your future self will thank you!

Make a Plan to Pay Down Debt in the New Year

The holidays often mean racking up debt on gifts, travel and entertainment. But the New Year is a chance to ditch that debt for good.

Make a Debt-Free Budget

Now that you have a plan to pay off existing debts, make a budget for the new year that keeps you debt-free going forward.

• Determine your income sources for the coming year and list out fixed expenses like rent, utilities and insurance. Then plan for variable expenses like groceries, transportation and entertainment.

• Leave some "cushion" in your budget, around 10%, to cover unexpected costs. And don't forget to build in savings goals for emergencies and the future.

• Try the "50/30/20" budget rule where 50% of income covers needs, 30% covers wants, and 20% goes to savings and debt repayment. Adjust as needed for your situation.

• The most important thing is tracking your spending and sticking to your budget. Use cash for expenses whenever possible and review your budget monthly to make adjustments.

By following your debt-free budget, you'll avoid taking on new credit card debt and make real progress paying off existing debt. The journey to becoming debt-free starts here!

Make a Plan to Pay Off Your Balances

Sit down and list all your debts, from highest to lowest interest rate. Then, make a plan to pay the minimum on everything but the highest rate debt. Throw as much as you can at that first debt each month until it's gone. Once that's paid off, roll that payment into the next highest rate balance. This "debt snowball" method works because quick wins keep you motivated to continue.

Paying with cash or debit cards can also help curb overspending. Studies show people spend less when they can physically see the money leaving their wallets. If credit cards are a must, look for ones offering rewards you'll actually use, like travel points or cash back. Just be sure to pay the balance in full each month.

When bills come due after the holidays, see if you can reduce or eliminate any recurring expenses. Look for ways to earn additional income on the side that you can put towards your debt payoff plan. Every little bit helps!

With determination and discipline, you can start the New Year with a clean financial slate. Make this the year you finally ditch debt and gain financial freedom. You'll feel so relieved and accomplished when those balances reach zero. Stay focused on your goals and reward yourself along the way - you deserve it! The holidays will be even sweeter next year when you can spend without worrying about what's due in January.

Reduce Spending on Holiday Gifts and Travel

The holidays can be an expensive time of year. Between gifts, travel, food, and entertainment, costs add up quickly. This year, make a resolution to cut back on overspending so you can start the new year with less debt and financial stress.

Reduce gift spending

Set a budget for gifts and stick to it. Only buy for close friends and family, and suggest a gift exchange with a spending cap. Look for gifts that are meaningful but affordable, like donating to a charity in someone's name or gifting an experience you can share together. Buy generic rather than brand name and shop sales when possible.

Travel smarter

If traveling over the holidays, look for ways to save on costs. Can you stay with friends or family instead of booking a hotel? Drive instead of fly if possible. Compare rates across sites like Kayak, Expedia and Travelocity and book 4 to 6 weeks in advance for the best deals. Consider bundling your flight and hotel to save on both.

Cut food costs

Food is a big part of holiday spending. Make a plan before shopping and only buy what you need. Look for coupons and buy generic or store brand items. Cook more at home instead of eating out. Ask guests to contribute a dish to share for get-togethers. Provide snacks and appetizers instead of full meals when possible.

Reducing excess holiday spending now will help ensure you start the new year with less debt and money worries. Make smart choices with gifts, travel and food to cut costs without cutting into your enjoyment of the season. The holidays can still be meaningful even when spending less, as long as you focus on what really matters like connecting with loved ones. Using these tips to budget better will help make your resolutions to ditch debt and save more in the coming year that much easier to achieve.

Start an Emergency Fund to Avoid New Debt

An emergency fund is essential to avoiding debt in the long run. Make building up your emergency savings a top priority this holiday season. 

Start Small and Automate

Even putting aside $25 or $50 from each paycheck can help build up a starter emergency fund over time. See if your employer offers direct deposit and have part of each paycheck automatically transferred into a high-yield savings account for your emergency fund. Little by little, those small, automated contributions will add up to $500, then $1,000 and beyond.

Once you have a starter fund built up, aim to save enough to cover 3 to 6 months of essential expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation in case of job loss, medical emergency or other unforeseen circumstances. The more you can save, the more secure your financial position will be. Make increasing your emergency fund contributions a New Year's resolution and revisit how much you're putting in each month. Even increasing by another $25 or $50 can make a big difference over the course of a year.

Use It Only for True Emergencies

The key to building an emergency fund is not withdrawing money from it unless absolutely necessary. Only use it for unanticipated, essential expenses like medical bills, car repairs, job loss, or other financial crises. Don't withdraw money for non-essentials like vacations, hobbies, or entertainment. Treat your emergency fund like a financial security blanket - only use it in dire circumstances.

Resisting the urge to withdraw money for non-emergency purposes will ensure you have funds on hand when life's unexpected challenges arise. You'll avoid racking up interest charges on high-interest debts and have a financial cushion so you can sleep easier at night knowing you're prepared for whatever surprises come your way. Building an emergency fund is one of the smartest financial moves you can make. Stick to it and make it a lifelong habit.

Fresh Money-Saving Ideas for A New Year

The new year is a chance for a fresh start. Make some smart money resolutions now. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Find free or low-cost hobbies

Curb spending on entertainment and find hobbies that don't cost a lot. Try exercising, reading, cooking at home or learning to code online. Save the money you would have spent going out for drinks or dining out.

Meal plan and prep

Planning meals, making a grocery list and prepping ingredients can save you hundreds each month. Cook more at home instead of ordering takeout or going to restaurants. Have leftovers for lunch. Shop sales and use coupons for the best deals.

Sell unwanted items

Go through your home and look for valuable items you no longer need, like electronics, instruments, tools, collectibles and designer clothes. Sell them on websites such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or at a local consignment shop. Put that cash towards your debt payments.

Ask for a raise

If you've been in your job for at least a year and have exceeded expectations, ask your boss for a salary increase. Come prepared with examples of your strong performance and contributions. Even an extra $5,000 or $10,000 a year can help make a dent in your debt.

Make extra money on the side

Find ways to make additional income in your spare time, like driving for a ridesharing service, doing online surveys, tutoring, freelancing, or participating in market research studies. Commit to putting a percentage of anything you earn towards debt each month.

Sticking with some of these resolutions and making consistent extra payments on your balances will help eliminate debt and give you more financial freedom. You've got this - make 2024 your best year yet!

Seek Help From a Reliable Credit Repair Company

If your debt feels overwhelming, don't despair. Help is out there. Seeking assistance from a reputable credit repair company like ASAP Credit Repair can help you develop a customized plan to pay off debt and repair your credit.

Do Your Research

Not all credit repair companies are created equal. Check online reviews from sources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Better Business Bureau, and Trustpilot. Look for companies with mostly positive reviews and a proven track record of helping clients resolve credit issues.

Ask Around

Word-of-mouth referrals from family and friends who've had success working with a ASAP Credit repair can also point you in the right direction. Inquire about their experience, if the company delivered on promises, and if fees seemed reasonable for the services provided.

Compare Services

Once you've identified some well-reviewed companies, compare the services and fees they offer. Look for those that provide a free initial consultation and customized plans to meet your needs. Legitimate companies like ASAP Credit Repair should clearly explain your rights and provide an estimate of how long it will take to achieve results. Be wary of companies that promise a "quick fix" or charge high upfront fees.

Make a Decision

When you've settled on a reputable company that you feel comfortable with, sign on to get started. They will review your credit reports and work with you to create a step-by-step plan to repair errors, reduce debt, and rebuild your credit. Stay involved in the process, ask questions, and provide any information they need to help you achieve your goals.

With determination and the right help, you can make this the year you finally ditch debt and resolve to improve your financial well-being for good. The holidays will be a lot brighter without the burden of debt dragging you down!


So there you have it, some solid resolutions to make this holiday season that will set you up for financial success in the new year. Pay down high-interest debts, check your credit report, and set a budget and spending limits. Make a plan to pay with cash instead of credit whenever possible. If you can stick to even a few of these, you'll be well on your way to ditching debt for good. The holidays don't have to leave you with a financial hangover - you can enjoy this season and still start the new year fresh. Take control of your money and don't let your money control you. The gift of financial freedom is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Here's to a happy, debt-free 2024!


Comment Section