It may not be just a hangover. It might be a disease. Here's the cure.

On New Year’s Eve, you watched the ball drop in Times Square. Now that January is nearly over, you’re getting your December credit card statements — and watching your debt soar.

Welcome to your real holiday hangover.

A debt hangover is no different than a drinking hangover: Despite what everyone tells you, there’s no easy, instant cure. In fact, a debt hangover is even worse, because it can last much longer.

In fact, I really don’t like the term “holiday debt hangover,” but it’s become a popular term in the media. Seriously, search those words online, and you’ll see 730,000 results. The problem is, “hangover” doesn’t begin to describe the problem many Americans face.

If you’re like most people, the holidays pushed you further into debt, but you already had hefty credit card bills well before Black Friday. So this isn’t just about paying off those holidays gifts, dinners, and trips. It’s about living within your means all year round.

Unlike a drinking hangover, which goes away if you simply do nothing, a holiday debt hangover gets worse if you do nothing. That’s because those high interest rates and steep late fees make the problem worse.

No, the proper analogy isn’t a “holiday debt hangover.” It’s actually “holiday debt disease.”

While most hangovers don’t require a doctor’s visit, severe cases of holiday debt disease might need professional attention. This is especially true if you have more than $5,000 on your credit cards that you just can’t seem to get rid of.

Thankfully, you can get credit counseling from various nonprofits. Their advice is free, and if you need serious medicine, they can enroll you into a debt management program, also known as a DMP. You can reduce your total credit card payments by 30 to 50 percent and stop late fees.

It sounds like it’s too good to be true, but these nonprofits are regulated by the federal government. Still, you need to take precautions.

Look for a nonprofit with an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau and other endorsements from organizations like the United Way and Excellence in Financial Literacy Education. In fact, you can search online for
“EIFLE BBB DMP” and get a list of reputable programs.

However, has done that work for you. We’ve partnered with a variety of nonprofit and for-profit companies that can help you start the new year right, whether it’s working on your credit cards, student loans, tax debt, or bankruptcy. They’ve all agreed to follow our Code of Ethics, and if you have a problem with any of them, tell us and we’ll immediately get on the case.

All you need to do is call 1-800-810-0989 to get the cure.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched I’m glad you’re here.

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