Home > Managing Debt > The Debt Diva: No Need to Fear the Holidays

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I had to overcome fear in order to start down the path of becoming debt free. I did not know why my credit card interest rates were so high. I did not know if I could get my rates lowered. I did not know if I could transfer my balances to a lower interest card. I did not know my credit score. What was standing in my way? Just me—I was afraid to find out my credit score. What would I do if it was bad? I was afraid to call my credit companies and ask for lower interest rates—what would I do if they said no? I belonged to a credit union and saw really low rate offers—would they give me a credit card? Would it make a difference?

I read everything I could on becoming debt-free. I found safe sites where I could get my credit score and I was relieved it was in the excellent range. Some online sites and blogs offer scripts to follow when calling credit card companies to lower rates. I modified those scripts and lowered my interest rates on my three credit cards. I applied at my credit union for a low-interest credit card so I could consolidate my two highest-balance cards as I was close to paying off the other card. It took me about an hour and it was painless. My fear of making those calls had cost me months of high interest rates. I was angry at myself for procrastinating and focused that into creating a payoff plan and a budget.

This time of year, the holiday season, used to be a season I would fear because of the cost of food, gifts, and entertainment; as well as felling obligated to do everything and to spend in excess of my comfort level, increasing my debt. This year, I will not be the sole cook/hostess/purchaser of food for each of the holiday events; this will be a shared cost of several families. Each family unit is gifting within their own immediate family; we are not exchanging gifts through the entire family. I have declined pricey outings and work gift exchanges—I never really enjoyed the added stress of fitting so many extra activities into such a short time period. My holiday season is budgeted, minimal in cost and rich with family and close friends. I am looking forward to the holidays this year. Because December is a three-paycheck month, I will even be making an additional payment on my remaining credit card!

Image: rishibando, via Flickr.com

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