We all tend to spend a little more than we should during the holidays, even when the economy isn’t so great. Maybe we were frivolous, maybe we just wanted some happiness after a tough year. Whatever the reason, reality sets in during the first month of the year and, suddenly, the splurging is no longer fun. Here are some ways to help you recover financially after the holidays.
Go on a Money Diet
Consider cutting all unnecessary spending and reduce the amount you normally spend on things. Stick to simple, low-cost meals, brown bag your work lunch, make your own coffee, carpool to save money on gas and find free ways to entertain yourself. It might be tough at first but, if you do this for a month, you may discover you need less than you originally thought.
Come up with a budget for all of your spending. Review your current habits and evaluate whether you can make any improvements. Create specific weekly budgets for food, gas, personal items and entertainment. Go a step further and take out the allotted amount of cash and put it in labelled envelopes so that you are not tempted to go over by using your debit or credit card.
Stick to a Plan
Set clear financial goals for 2014 and develop a strategy for success. Target the credit card with the highest interest and find a way to pay it off – even if it means picking up a part-time job or selling items on eBay or Craigslist that you no longer need. If you are struggling to save money, set up your bank account to put a small amount into savings every day. You probably won’t even notice the money is gone but it will add up. Review your credit report and address any errors, then look at ways in which you can improve your score.
Explore Your Options
If you have a lot of debt or your credit cards have a high interest rate, consider looking into ways that you could either transfer your balance to a card with lower interest or if you can consolidate all of your debts into one monthly payment.
Financial stress can wreak havoc on your health, relationships and sanity. Commit to finding ways of getting things under control so that you don’t waste any more time worrying.