Proactive measures to tackle financial fallout in January

Posted on: 16th January, 2014

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Geraldine Carroll, co-founder of Winter Wisdom - a personal finance and success blog, looks at some practical ways of paying back debt and coping with the stress that comes with it.

Now that Christmas is over for another year, it’s time to pack away the decorations and send the wrapping paper and cards off to the recycle centre. However, if you’ve borrowed money to make ends meet this holiday season, you might find the resulting debt a bit trickier to offload. Owing money presents us with two major challenges — the practicalities of actually paying it back, and the psychological pressure that goes with that. In this article, I’ll attempt to address them both.

Your main focus with any debt should be reducing the amount of interest you have to pay. If you’ve borrowed on a credit card, you can try to transfer your balance onto a card with a lower interest rate. is a great comparison site where you can find plenty of zero per cent balance transfer cards with interest-free periods running from six months up to a year. You can save a lot of money and clear the debt sooner if you manage to rid yourself of some of the interest payable. There are two things to remember here though: (1) check first to see that there are no restrictions on your current credit card agreement preventing you from transferring your balance and (2) find out whether the new provider charges a fee.

The same tactic can work for other credit arrangements too. If you took out a high-interest loan or overdraft, look to your local Credit Union to see if they would be prepared to take over the debt (Credit Union interest rates tend to be lower in comparison to other financial institutions). You could also meet with your lenders to try and renegotiate the interest rate. If you can convince them that the only way you can clear the debt is if they make the rate more affordable, they might well agree to accommodate your request.

In any case it’s best to try and get small debts paid off quickly, before they start accumulating interest and affecting your ability to keep on top of things. You can free up cash to throw at a short-term loan by arranging to temporarily make minimum payments on your larger ongoing debts. If you need help negotiating with your lenders then the Money Advice and Budgeting Service ( should be your first port of call. It’s a free confidential service funded by the Citizens Advice Board with offices located throughout the country. They provide budgeting advice and mediate on behalf of borrowers to try and bring their debts under control.

Of course, that’s only the practical side of the equation. The mental and emotional pressures of debt can cause all kinds of other issues ranging from strained relationships to major health concerns. The good cheer that Christmas brings can soon go out the window when faced with the harsh realities of January. At a time when our immune system is already struggling to fight off the usual winter bugs, the last thing we want to have to cope with are the physical symptoms of debt-related stress. These can manifest themselves as sleep and digestive problems, high blood pressure and lack of concentration resulting in accidents, to name but a few. Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and actively reduce your stress to manageable levels.

You can ease the pressure a little just by putting a plan in place to deal with your debts, but there are further measures you can take to keep the ball rolling. First, try to eat as healthily as possible and get some form of exercise. Clean food and physical activity have been shown to have a reducing effect on levels of stress and anxiety in the body. You can also try drinking calming teas and performing simple meditative techniques. If you feel a bout of stress coming on, sipping a cup of green tea or taking a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can carry you through. However, if it’s all becoming too much you ‘must’ talk to someone. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get your worries off your chest and seek friendly advice. Try your family and friends first — you’ll probably find they’re more than willing to be supportive. If this isn’t possible or you would prefer talking to a stranger, try contacting a support group such as The Samaritans (, Pieta House ( or Aware ( And of course, Winter Wisdom ( is there as well if you’re looking for inspiration and a positive approach to tackling all of the challenges that a new year brings! for more advice and information.

Latest News Articles:

New tours give a taste of the Lee Valley
More than €30,000 raised for charity as crowds flock to Ford 100 Fest in Ballinascarthy
Opening of new all-inclusive pool places Dunmanway at centre of West Cork for sport and recreation
Bantry Harbour Marina officially opens
West Cork named top food destination
Tourist numbers up in Bantry and Beara this summer
Brookpark Community Enterprise Centre
Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme

Join us on Facebook

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
... See MoreSee Less

7th September, 2017  ·  

Caheragh are holding a Modern,Classic & Vintage Run next Sunday 10th September at the Travellers Rest in Aid of The Aisling Tanner Fund. Registration 11am. Run starting @ 12.45. ... See MoreSee Less

4th September, 2017  ·  

Dunmanway Historical Association regrets to announce that the talk on Sile na Gig which was to take place on Thursday, 24th August in Atkins hall @ 8:30pm has been cancelled. ... See MoreSee Less

18th August, 2017  ·  

Jump to: