The Christmas credit card bill: pay it off by sharing your things

Credit cards

January 2nd, 2019

I’m not sure how much time has passed since Christmas. All that build-up for one fateful day a year, and then…nothing. Since sitting down to watch the Queen’s Speech, I’ve left my chair a total of one time, to lend my lawnmower to a desperate neighbour, eager to busy herself over the break. I doubt many of you have moved at all. My family moved a lot. They moved towards my fridge, vacuumed out its contents, and left it looking absolutely bare.

The bank account doesn’t look too healthy, either.

But who worries about money over the Christmas period? We spend to our heart’s content and think about the consequences when the dust has settled. And in that dust will come an envelope, sealed with a stamp from your local bank. It’ll come through the letter box, land in your lap, and the figures inside will shock and awe. It’s the credit card bill – expected by most and dreaded by all.

The future doesn’t have to be this grim. Here’s how I’m planning to pay off the Christmas credit card bill.

Flog it

Raise your hands if you’re also hoarding a bucket of socks under the bed. Keep them raised if your so-called ‘fun’ uncle gifted you a garish jumper to match his. I received quite a few bits and pieces from people I barely know well enough to mail a card to, let alone send a host of gifts I’d never dream of owning. To this day, a car boot sale remains a solid choice for disposing of unwanted presents, but they’re hardly ideal during Winter. Thankfully, the viability of online shopping continues to grow due to you and I flogging our ugly (but strangely good quality) joggers and jumpers. Why bother hanging on to gifts you’ve no intention of using when they could be sold to pay off debt?

Let’s face it: your uncle has probably already peddled whatever you bought him, so make like a sheep and follow suit.

Lend it

While my uncle’s jumper is long-gone through the vacuous tunnels of eBay, I wasn’t quite as trigger-happy with the selling site as first thought. The boring, practical gifts – the fan, the ladder, the hammer – I held on to those. They were expensive, so are well-made, and are going to last forever, but I’m only planning on making use of them once or twice a year. Even the spirit level can only entertain us for so long, as I explore the house, examining what needs straightening. But rather than selling them outright, it made more sense to generate a continuous source of income – by lending. Plus, since they were gifts, I haven’t spent any money on them, so letting others borrow my new tools is basically free money, when you think about it.

Let’s look at how much you’d make by lending, instead of flogging, over six-days:

Lending (per day)1 Flogging (once)2
Drill £12.50 £39.95
Hammer £2.50 £13.22
Extension lead £6.25 £12.99
Jump lead £1.25 £15.99
Ladder £3.75 £42.99
Fan £1.25 £13.99
Spirit level £1.25 £10.85
Total (day one) £28.75 £149.98
Total (day six) £172.50 £149.98


2Via eBay.

Instant gratification is great. You could sell all your items now, make a decent lump sum, and feel fantastic. Eventually, that cash will run out, and it’ll only make a small dent in what most people owe credit card companies this Christmas. Plus, lest we forget, sooner rather than later, you’re bound to need to buy another new drill. With that in mind, does it not make sense to lend everything for a few days and make more than outright selling everything? If you keep that up throughout the year, you could make enough to pay for next Christmas.

Why buy it when you could borro it?

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