Right at the beginning of a new year, post all the celebrations, you realise how excessively you’ve spent during the holidays. It is definitely that time of the year where one finds out the precise size of their splurge when the credit card bill arrives.
Holiday season is that time of the year, which can put people off balance and sometimes they tend to go way past the budget they set for themselves. It is safe to say, this happens to all of us including the ones who are most financially restrained. At some point in our lives we all have overspent and anyone who says otherwise probably isn’t being honest or they have mastered the art of money management.
Just because you have spent too much it does not mean that you are doomed and penniless forever. All you need to do is understand the current financial situation and adapt accordingly with your needs. Cut down on your expenses and learn to spend only when you need to. To help you bounce back from the holiday spending we have listed few simple methods; follow these and make the most of it.
Face The Fact
Do not panic! If you went overboard with spending, then face the problem instead of going into panic mode. Print out your credit card statements and look where you spent most of your money. Start by taking a look at what were your biggest splurges and later deal with spendings during the holidays; note if they were of complete utility or not. The following exercise will let you know whether or not your spending was worth it.
It will also show you where not to spend in case you have spent on unnecessary items. Restrain yourself from feeling overwhelmed because that won’t help you from tackling the problem and you will be knee deep in debt. Plan a strategy that will help you in paying off debt and bring your financial status under control.
Pay Only For Your Needs
To stop spending on things that are not a major requirement is one way to start with your cash diet. Saving money helps you to focus on what you have and not on the endless list of what you want. When you go on a cash diet, you are saving money, which can be further used to pay off your debt.
While it may sound simple, an important step is to curtail unnecessary spending. Put yourself on a financial diet and try not to spend money on non-essential items until you catch up on any extra debt you incurred during the holidays.
Using coupons and comparison shopping for essential items and cutting extra expenses, can really make a big difference in your monthly budget. In fact, simple lifestyle changes can help you save thousands of dollars over the course of year. People prefer examples over theories, so follow the example given below to get started with your cash diet.
For instance, avoid going all berserk behind the latest trend. Do not run to buy the pair of shoe you just saw in a magazine because if you take a good look in your closet their might be pairs of shoes you have barely used. So, learn to invest only in things that you need and make this your mantra.
Saying “NO” to restaurants is another way to cut down on unnecessary expenses. Avoiding eating at restaurants will help you to not spending frivolously; and you will be surprised to see that the exorbitant amounts you save yearly by not eating outside.
Ask yourself if you really need to eat at restaurants every now and then. Instead spend time rummaging through the cabinets and prepare a great meal at home without spending too much money on outside food. Keep some ready–to-cook cans of food in the kitchen because during cash crunch, it might make sense to eat soup.
Start making coffee at home instead of stopping by at your favourite café every morning. Switch to using reusable bottles and bring your lunch to work rather than ordering from restaurants. These might seem like minor savings, but by making these changes you will surely end up saving a good chunk of money every year.
Make sure you have the cable or mobile phone bill plan that gives the most bang for your buck. These monthly recurring expenditures must be reviewed, only then will you be able to determine whether you really need unlimited text messages or those endless channels. Remember your mantra must be to pay for your need and thus, modify your plans accordingly.
Of course we’ve heard many people tell us how they cannot cut off their expenses from their leisure activities and it is simply not possible. Well, why not take advantage of free leisure activities?
Instead of fine dining and bar hopping, choose to invite your friends’ home for dinner. Visit an art exhibit or museum and maybe even go for hiking instead of attending fancy activities that require you to buy a ticket.
Get involved in local events where you can spend time volunteering and being part of activities around. Well, like they say it promises you of countless rewards, so why not try being a volunteer? Oh! Please do not skip on taking advantage of free concerts or outdoor movies in the summer.
Use Tax Returns And Holiday Bonuses Wisely
Holiday bonuses and tax returns are two larger lump sums of money and if used wisely one can generate savings and clear debts. Gather tax documents and figure out if you have a refund from the government, if yes then file your tax return as fast as you can. Be smart when it comes to taxes, especially if you are involved into business, know all your taxes.
If you are getting holiday bonuses then ensure that you take full advantage by putting it towards credit card debt or using it to save for next year’s holiday expenses. This extra earned money is a gateway to pay off debt and boost your credit score to help meet your goals. Remember that this is not free money to spend, but money to pay debts and to save.
To clear all your debts or to have enough savings, you can always try to earn more. Besides the everyday job, dedicate your time to earn a few extra dollars. There are plenty of ways to earn a few extra dollars, from doing some volunteering tasks at events to dog walking and maybe even babysitting over weekends.
If you do not wish to be physically present for the job then opt for freelancing work that can be done from home and as per your convenience. Look at the bright side; the more time you spend working extra hours, the less time you have to spend money.
Evaluate Credit Cards And Credit Score
In case you are using a credit card, be wise and make sure that you are not overusing it and paying the money on time. It is advised to eliminate credit cards with annual fees. Be spontaneous and incorporate more reward cards into your wallet, so that you can take advantage of the points you accumulate with it.
Take a close look at your credit score so you understand the baseline of where you stand and how your credit may have been affected by your holiday spending. Make sure that your credit report is accurate, essentially during the time of major use. Learn to maintain a good credit score as that will support your future investments.
Do not forget to set realistic deadlines to meet your financial stability! Follow these simple rules and measure and even before you realise it, you will have paid off all your debt and bounced right back on the stable financial bandwagon!