Christmas is a magical time of the year. It’s a time for candy canes and make believe. It’s a time for Santa Claus and mistletoe. But the holidays are also a time of over-indulgence — and we’re not just talking about the holiday fudge.
In fact, 62% of parents surveyed said they knew that they’d spent more for their kids over the holidays than they should have, according to a report by investment firm T. Rowe Price.
How did you fare this Christmas season? Are you feeling those financial Christmas blues?
Well, with New Year’s just a few days away, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions and to make some changes to your financial situation.
Here are a few suggestions to help you overcome those holiday financial blues and start the new year off right:
Discover how much you owe. This isn’t a fun task. It can be truly depressing to look at how much you currently owe on your credit card after your holiday expenses. But if you want to get your finances back on track, you need to start at the beginning and find out how much you’re in the hole before you can decide what you need to do to get out of it.
Use our RentPlusMoney tool to help you budget and get your money back on track.
Cut back on expenses. Now that you know how much you owe, it’s time to make a game plan on how to pay it all back. Can you avoid eating out as much as you usually do? Can you cut back on date night expenses? Are there any expenses you can forego for a month or two to help you pay off your debt as quickly as possible? Decide what works best for you and start paying off your debt now before the interest kicks in and you lose even more money.
Use our FinStrong tool to help you understand your finances and learn how to make financial decisions tailored to your values.
Start planning for next year. Once you’ve paid off your holiday debt, you should start saving for next year to avoid going in debt again. Look at how much you spent this year on holiday expenses and start saving a little bit each month to help you pay cash for Christmas next year. You’ll be a lot less stressed if you have all the money upfront and you’ll be less likely to feel the financial blues after the holidays.
If you follow these suggestions, you can turn a negative experience into a positive life change. You can set yourself up better financially so that you never have to face those pesky holiday financial blues again. And, in doing so, you’ll learn some valuable budgeting tips to help you in all your financial goals.