How to Recover from Holiday Spending
Don't let holiday spending stress you out.
The holiday season is fun-filled with activities, good food and shopping--it's easy to overindulge. When the holidays are over, you may find you have gone overbudget. But when the new year starts you don't have to panic. By making goals for financial planning, you can get your budget back on track.
Take time to evaluate your financial situation.
Gather all your bills and bank statements and evaluate where you are at financially. It’s time to make a budget and stick with it. Be sure to make at least the minimum payment due on all credit card accounts and loans. As you pay down your debt for one bill, increase your payment on another. NerdWallet.com recommends the 50/30/20 budget. Budget 50% of your monthly take-home income for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings and debt repayment. (see NerdWallet's post on How to Build a Budget). They also offer budget worksheet templates to help you get it down on paper.
Limit extra spending.
After the holiday, sales are very tempting. Merchants are trying to empty their inventory for the start of the new year. And while you don't want to eliminate all discretionary spending (how unrealistic!) you can skip unnecessary purchases just because it's on sale.
To eliminate overspending, give yourself an allowance and stick with it. Be decisive about what you spend and determined to stick with your decisions. For a spouse, plan for an equal allowance so there is no concern for over-spending on golf games or new clothes. The goal is not to starve yourself financially, but to limit your spending to a set amount.
Chances are you have accumulated points during your holiday shopping. If you earned reward points on your credit card accounts, now is the time to redeem them. Some rewards can be redeemed for gift cards — which can be like cash in your pocket. Do you have family birthdays at the first of the year? This is a great time to use your rewards for those gifts.
Set a goal, make a plan ... and keep it.
Make a good New Year's resolution: plan to set aside some savings. Every little bit helps. And there are many ways to accomplish this. Set up an automatic deposit, no matter how small, into a savings account with each paycheck. The credit union has a variety of savings options to help you accomplish this. As you earn dividends, your money will continue to grow.
Don't let this year's holiday season leave you stressed over your financial wellbeing. Look forward to next year and getting your budget under control.