With the nights slowly (but surely) getting darker and the new school year dawning, like it or not, your summer holiday is about to become a distant memory – and worse still, rather than the sun shining above and a cocktail in hand, all you’ll have left to show for it is a depleted bank account.
If you applied for financial assistance to help fund your summer getaway in any way shape or form, it’s important to begin managing your debt straight away, rebuilding your credit and, subsequently, ensuring your finances are back on track as soon as possible. But fear not – it’s not all doom and gloom! Luckily, today we’re here to help, showing you how to manage debt accumulated during the summer to ensure you’re financially secure by the time the snow starts to fall.
What to do first
The first step towards successfully managing debt is evaluating your financial situation. The best place to start is by looking at how much you owe, cross-referencing this against your budget and factoring in any repayment terms you’re subjected to. This way, you’ll be able to obtain an accurate idea of how much you can afford to repay each month and, subsequently, how long it’s going to take. Remember to factor in other financial obligations such as direct debits and monthly overheads to ensure you have as accurate of an idea as possible in regards to your repayment ability.
Of course, your repayment strategy very much depends on how you funded your holiday…
Perhaps the most popular form of financing a summer holiday is through credit cards, especially considering unique perks such as protection from section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Nonetheless, it’s still very important to pay off any outstanding debt on your credit card as soon as possible to ensure there’s no long-term damage to your credit score (or, if this is already the case, as a way of rebuilding your credit). As a first step, ensure you know how much interest you’re subject to and enquire into whether this can be lowered by calling your credit company and trying to negotiate a lower rate of interest – this will be far easier if you have good credit as your credit card provider will be more inclined to try and keep you as a customer.
If you’re being subject to high APR and your credit company is refusing to budge, the next best step is to shop around for a better deal. Consider moving your debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card – many of these cards offer introductory interest-free deals, some for substantial time periods, that will help give you a bit of initial breathing room.
If you opted to use an overdraft to fund your summer escape, again, the best place to start is by ensuring you understand whether you’re being charged interest on it and, if so, how much you’re subject to paying. This will very much vary depending on your account type and bank, so if you find that you’re being charged unmanageable interest rates, enquire into whether you can switch accounts to one that offers a 0% overdraft (although it’s worth noting that switching accounts may mean losing other associated perks you currently benefit from).
Alternatively, you could also tackle your overdraft by using a 0% money transfer card. By moving funds from your 0% credit card to your current account, you can use the interest-free money to immediately pay off your outstanding overdraft debt.
If you applied for holiday finance as a means of affording your summer holiday, the likelihood is that you’ve already negotiated a strict repayment plan with your personal loan provider. As you’re able to make fixed-rate payments within a pre-decided term, you should already have a pretty clear idea of your repayment ability.
Since holiday loans are typically viewed as an impulsive borrowing decision, it’s likely that your loan came with an above-average interest rate attached. As such, it can be tempting to try to pay this off as soon as possible, rather than sticking to the agreed monthly payment plan. However, while this may help avoid constant monthly interest costs, it’s more than likely that you’ll be subject to an early repayment charge, which may cause more financial turmoil in the short-term. As such, it’s often best to simply ensure you have an appropriate budget in place to regular meet your agreed upon repayment plan.
With these tips, we hope you have a better idea of how to effectively manage debt accumulated from funding your summer holiday. Now all that’s left to worry about is how to maintain that tan…