So true story, this year I went a little wonky and didn’t set a budget for the holidays. Call it forgetful or just being too excited not to be stuck to a wedding budget, but I went full on Santa Claus and Martha Stewart this Christmas. Between the gifts, potlucks and holiday party’s I did the most. The bigger joke is that I did this all while quietly convincing myself that I wasn’t doing that much damage.
Fast forward to December 31st when it was time to do my budgeting and face the damage.It was at this point that if our credit card statements could have jumped out the screen and slapped me, my inner finance knowledge would have fixed its lips, shook its head and said “mhmmm GOOD FOR YOU.” It seriously sucked to look at what was done. Which led me to these, my top 10 suggestions for rebuilding after holiday setback.
1. Assess your overall situation
First things first, it’s time to look at the situation and come to terms with the damage. Pull up the credit card statements, go over your transaction history and make notes. Whether you over spent your way into debt or deeper into debt now’s the time to acknowledge it and move forward with a plan.
2. Revisit your budget
Dust it off, power up that excel spreadsheet or log onto whatever you use to do your budgeting. Start fresh with a new month and new year! It’s time to plan out your pay schedule down to the last cent. Include all debts and be honest about how willing and committed you are to cleaning up the mess.
3. Create a repayment plan
Some of you may have been smart and preplanned but if you’re like me and stuff just happened this holiday season then you need to figure out how to repay the debt you created. It’s time to Dave Ramsey this situation and line the debts up smallest to largest and attack them in that same way. Make sure these are included in your budget.
4. Put a hold on any big purchases
I know its tempting to sign up for that gym membership, buy a juicer or buy that new car because its shiny and heated seats are just way to important this season. I’m just going to be real, YOU CANT AFFORD IT. Now is not the time to make these big decisions, boxing day sales and Christmas bliss have your mind making really bad choices and you’re not seeing clearly. Wait it out, if you still want it after your debt is payed then grab it then!
5. Make holiday returns
Now I know it’s not always the most polite or socially acceptable thing, but a return is a return. That gift you don’t like, take it back. Our secret, I promise. Cash is optimal but store credit will be acceptable to. We don’t always make the best choices during the holidays and that includes the gifts we get ourselves, those gotta go back as well.
6. Declutter and sell your stuff
While you’re in the spirit of returning things why not take some time and declutter your home while taking down all your holiday decor? January is a great time to declutter and sell or donate stuff your not using anymore. Post some of these things on online marketplaces and get some cash for things you weren’t using anyway.
7. Use tax returns/ year end bonuses wisely
End of the fiscal year means a few things money wise, year end bonuses and tax returns (both if you’re lucky.) So plan accordingly and use the money wisely, this could come in handy to clean up some of the mess that was made.
8. Consider a no spend month
A no spend month is when you only spend money on essentials and nothing else. No eating out, no movies, no morning coffee etc which sounds like it sucks but can actually be really easy if you are ready to commit to the challenge. Winter makes this a lot easier so it’s a great time to challenge yourself!
9. Earn additional income
Again, because its winter this is a great time to pick up another job or do something that generates additional income. Uber eats, part time anything, retail etc… This will ultimately help you not spend more and pay down any debt.
10. Be proactive with your budgeting for next years holiday season
So you weren’t so successful last year, thats ok we’re learning with every season. So consider setting a spending budget NOW for Christmas 2019 and start saving a bit at a time, your future self will thank you.
Holidays are hard enough emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. Let’s use the past year’s mistakes as lessons so that we can make things a little bit easier on ourselves and our bank accounts.
Until next time,