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Post-Holiday Financial Blues: How To Make A Recovery After The Holidays

The holidays are a strain to most peoples’ bank accounts as they spend money giving gifts and being festive. You’re likely no exception and might find yourself feeling extra stressed out financially once the New Year starts and you realize how the holidays affected your spending and budgeting. Take measures to help yourself recover and get back on track to your goal of being financially responsible by spending less and saving more.

Put Away the Credit Cards

It’s a lot easier to charge something to your credit card and worry about paying for it later than it is to pay cash upfront for what you’re buying. Unfortunately, everything that you charge needs to be paid for eventually and if you run a balance from month-to-month you will have to pay more because of the interest.

Put your credit cards somewhere that you can’t use them conveniently, such as in your dresser or even stick it in a bag of water and freeze it so you have to take time to thaw it before using it. But there has been some question as to whether freezing will damage the imbedded chip in new cards.

Cut Out Excess Spending

Coffee-

Small purchases like your cup of coffee every morning or lunch might not seem like a lot of money at the time, but they certainly add up. For instance the average Starbucks Grande (medium sized) Latte costs over $4 each. If you buy 5 a week, 50 weeks a year that adds up to over $1000 per year just for coffee (not counting any tip).

Lunch-

Cut spending by packing a lunch for work. A packed lunch costs roughly $2-$3 each compared to $6 or $7 for fast food or $10 plus for a restaurant (saving you another $1000 / yr.).

 

Gasoline-

Although average gas prices nationwide are down from their peak of a few years ago, gasoline is still a major expense. Reduce gas costs by carpooling and combining errands into one trip and driving only when necessary.

Entertainment-

Find ways to entertain yourself that don’t cost money, such as watching a movie at home or getting together with some friends to play card or board games. Since the average movie date costs $25 for tickets and another $25 for popcorn and drinks, going out to the movies or for drinks will have to wait until your budget recovers.

Pay off the Debt

Debt doesn’t magically go away no matter how much you want it to. Focus on paying it off as quickly as possible.

Remember, you have to pay more than the minimum payments or else you’ll be eaten alive by interest. Any extra toward principle lets you pay down the balance much faster.

Save

Save MoneySaving money tends to be one of the most difficult parts of financial recovery. Make it a point to save for next year so you won’t be in a bind like this again.  Even if can only save a small amount every week. Little amounts add up to more and having an established savings program minimizes the need to stress out.

Our friends at Multiple Trades & Maintenance recommend that you also set aside a savings plan to cover a major expense such as a broken pipe, failing HVAC system or electrical issue that could otherwise bust your budget.

Don’t let your stress levels skyrocket after the holidays. With budgeting, will-power and some smart money making decisions you’ll find yourself less stressed out and on the road to financial security.

About the Author: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.