It happens every year -- Enticing sales and the spirit of giving get the better of you, and before you know it, January arrives with plenty of bills and proof of holiday overspending in tow. If you got caught up in the moment and now find yourself reeling from the results of your holiday spending hangover, grab a bloody mary, and take a look at these seven ways you can feel a little better about your budget in the coming year!
#1. Dry Out for a Week or Two
Put your spending in check by stopping the splurge cold turkey. Put your cards and cash in your wallet for ten days, and leave them there. Don't purchase a single thing so you can acclimate to the feeling of not spending money again. Before you dry out your checking account, be sure to fill your gas tanks and hit the grocery store! Even essentials should be off the list when it's time for your spending hiatus to ensue!
#2. Make Some Dollars and Cents on the Side
Thanks to today's gig economy, there are plenty of ways to make a little extra cash on the side. Be cautious before taking any sort of online work, and make sure you do your research, though. If you need to pad your paycheck, consider getting a part-time job, selling some stuff on eBay, creating a creative outlet on Etsy, or walking your neighbors' dogs for a fee.
#3. Bring on the Budget!
The old days of checkbooks and spending registers may be gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't know exactly where every penny you spend goes. Compile all of your expenses, from credit card bills to mortgage payments, rent, and cell phone bills, and put them in a place where you can easily see your money in versus money out.
#4. Track Spending with an App
Thanks to today's high-tech innovations, you have more money-tracking tools at your fingertips than ever before! Find a money app that works for your unique needs, and commit to sticking with it.
#5. Feed Yourself on a Fixed Dollar Amount
One of the easiest ways to overspend any time happens to occur during an activity that's unavoidable. Ironically, it's also one of the easiest ways to slim down on your expenses. Set a food budget, and stick to it. Don't eat out until you get all caught up on bills. If you're not a great cook, this is the perfect time to get creative! Pressed for time? Invest in a slow cooker.
#6. Ditch the Expensive Morning Joe
This comes up time and time, but it's for good reason. $7 coffees add up quickly! Make your morning mojo in your own kitchen, and if you really must have that extra shot of espresso and syrupy goodness, downgrade to a semi-monthly visit to your local coffee shop.
#7. Start Saving for Next Year
It's never too early to start saving for next year. In fact, this is the perfect time to set up an account in which you allocate $20 per paycheck specifically towards next year's holidays. Christmas Clubs or dedicated savings accounts are a great way to keep 2017's holiday credit card bills at bay.
It's a new year, and while you may be making resolutions to lose a little weight and get in shape, this is the perfect time to put plans into place that will help fatten up your wallet! Need help getting started? Come see our friendly team at St. Mary's Credit Union today!
Remember, if you must use a credit card pick the one with the LOWEST interest rate, NOT just the one with the best rewards!