If You Really Want To Pay Off That Holiday Debt, Start Now

2020-01-17   minute read

Lifestyle Debt

When you first read this headline, which holiday debt sprung to mind?

The remnants of your December generosity?

The tropical vacation you took to chase away the winter blues?

Or, could it be the looming threat of debt to come as the summer holidays stretch ahead?

Whichever holiday debt you’re carrying — or may be thinking of incurring — now’s as good a time as any to change course and make it go away for good.


How to Start

Paying down holiday debt always takes longer than racking it up. Sad, but true — especially if you used credit cards to enjoy a fantastic dream trip.

So how do you start paying down the debt when the fun is over?

  1. Set a new holiday goal. Whether it’s another trip or paying for this year’s Christmas gifts with cash, define a new savings goal that is personal, important and worth working towards.
  2. Analyse your household budget. If you already budget for debt repayment, identify where you can cut costs or carve out additional income to pay the debt down faster.
  3. Define a finish line. Determine how long it will reasonably take to pay off the existing holiday debt without affecting your regular monthly expenses.

If your monthly debt repayment goal will strain your budget, it’s not doable. Lessen the amount and increase the pay off period. Any deficit in your budget may cause you to use credit to cover any overages, defeating the purpose of your pay off plan!

Commit unexpected income to paying off holiday debt or saving for the next holiday. Earmark income tax refunds, year end bonuses or credit card cash back rewards for this purpose.

Review your new goals often to maintain your motivation and keep paying off current holiday debt top of mind. Your next holiday will be here before you know it.

Plan to Avoid Overspending

While staying committed to your pay-off plan, ensure you can continue working towards your next holiday goal by setting aside savings. It’s totally possible, especially if you follow these holiday budgeting tips.

High Cost Vacations

Everyone needs a vacation. But vacations can also be a prime time for overspending. You’re relaxed, you let your guard down and before you know it, you’ve already blown your budget. Oh, and it’s only day two!

Before you set your heart on a destination or departure date, have some fun planning. List every potential expense that might come up — like accommodations, tipping, restaurants and special events. You can find a ton of price estimates by combing reviews on travel sites. Also, consider exchange rates if you’re going to another country. Then include a contingency fund for unexpected costs. Don’t rely on credit to make up for expenses you didn’t plan for.

Add up all these expenses, look at the potential cost of your vacation and ask the following questions:

  • Can I truly afford to go on this vacation right now?
  • Can I choose a less expensive vacation or put it off for six months?
  • If I use savings, can I cover any unexpected expenses over the next few months?
  • If I use credit, how soon can I pay it off?

Your honest answers to these questions should help you make wise financial choices for your upcoming vacation.

Summer Holidays

Come summer family time, making and sticking to a holiday budget doesn’t need to put a damper on your fun. A little pre-planning can help you create great memories while keeping holiday spending stress at bay.

With numerous cost-effective benefits, road trips are often a great budget friendly option.

  1. Pack your own road food. The internet has endless suggestions for fun / healthy / sweet snacks that can save you a bundle compared to the traditional gas station or roadside alternatives.
  2. Research stops along the way to pinpoint affordable restaurants, along with free and interesting sights. Consider pre-purchasing family passes to specific places to save money and avoid waiting in line.
  3. Stop in at the local visitor’s center to find out what’s happening and what free offerings your family might enjoy. Locals are the best way to discover the best deals in town.
  4. Keep your family financially on track. Give your kids their own spending money for the entire trip. Explain that this money is for their “wants”, while you will pay for their needs. This will help control their spending and prevent you from using a credit card for their impulse purchases.


If you want to keep your holiday spending in check, need to escape from your regular routine, prefer to sleep in your own bed at night and / or don’t want to fight the summer tourist crowds, a staycation is the perfect option.

Create an environment that feels like you’re away from home. Put your phone on airplane mode. Don’t check work emails. And keep the house tidy, so you don’t feel compelled to clean every day.  

Start with breakfast at home, pack a tasty picnic lunch and head out for a day of exploring. Kick up your feet at the beach, discover hidden gems in a nearby town or check out a local museum or gallery you’ve always wanted to visit. Keeping it simple and local will streamline your spending.

You can still splurge on treats or evenings out, just ensure you include it in your budget. A staycation can even help you save money to put towards an out of town vacation later on.

Keep the Holiday Feeling Going

Holidays are supposed to help you relax and escape from your busy life. And, with some planning and saving, you can eliminate the stress that overspending and holiday debt can bring long after the fun is all over.

However, if you’re struggling with unmanageable debt from a past vacation that’s getting in the way of your current life and future vacation dreams, MNP can help. Schedule a Free Confidential Consultation with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee today to learn your options.

Together, you’ll review your entire financial situation, discuss your challenges and goals and identify opportunities to achieve the financial fresh start you need and deserve. Whether you qualify for a Life-Changing Debt Solution such as Bankruptcy or a Consumer Proposal — or would benefit from one of several other strategies — they will thoroughly explain each option help you choose your best path  toward debt freedom.  

It’s time to take a permanent vacation from your debt. Contact us today to make that dream a reality.

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