The holiday season is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year. But what happens when the decorations have been put away, and you’re back to life-as-usual? What’s the one thing that isn’t quite as wonderful? – The fact that your year-long budgeting efforts have completely gone out the window… (apart from the weight-watching, thanks to all those holiday feasts!)
If your bank account too has taken a hit, and you’ve blown your budget this holiday season, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.
Account for ‘all’ the holiday spending
There’s a bunch of stuff we spend on during the holidays – presents, travel, decorations, food and more. And these really do add up! The first step towards remedying your financial situation, is to track all your holiday expenses. Don’t throw away receipts, especially if you’ve paid for the items in cash. You’ll need these to get an accurate estimate of how much you’ve spent. Similarly, go through your credit card or bank account statement to track all your cashless expenses.
Don’t ignore your outstanding credit card bill
If you’ve gone overboard with your credit card spending during the holidays, it’s now time to tackle it. Rather than making just the minimum payment and carrying the high-interest debt further, you would be better off getting rid of it as soon as possible.
If you can’t afford to repay the entire amount in one go, consider transferring your credit card balance to a new credit card that offers a 0% balance transfer facility for a limited tenure of three to six months. You can make use of this interest-free period to pay off all the outstanding debt, before the provider starts levying interest.
Cut back this month.. maybe even next!
So December drained you financially, how about making up for your overheated financial situation in January, or even February? Give yourself one to two months to let things normalize, while you cut back on unnecessary spending and observe some degree of financial austerity. Once you’ve saved up enough to help compensate for the excess holiday spending, go about managing your budget as usual.
Prepare yourself for the next holiday edition
Take a closer look at your holiday bills and how much you’ve spent on each expense category. Zero in on the categories you could have saved on, and how you could have managed your holiday expenses better. This will not only help you budget better for the next holiday season, but will also help you avoid repeating the same financial mistakes next time.