Each holiday season, shoppers spend millions of dollars on gifts, decorations, food, and festivities. Many people overextend themselves financially and begin the New Year under a mountain of debt that takes months (if not years) to pay off. It’s a vicious cycle that many people dread but accept all the same.
This year, you can choose to break the cycle by vowing to make some changes in the way you manage your finances after the festive period’s excesses. Using the secrets revealed below, you can avoid the post-holiday financial crisis and begin the New Year with no guilt and plenty of money in your pocket.
1. Get a Small Loan to Ease the Pressure
It’s easy to overspend during the holidays. While you may have good intentions, it’s hard to pass by a great deal, even if it does exceed what you had planned to spend.
Rather than leave your shopping budget to chance, many not-for-profit organizations offer small money loans with little to no interest, so they are easy to pay off quickly. When your bank balance is looking a bit anemic, these safe options can help take off some of the short term pressure without sending into crippling debt.
2. Add Some Zen to Your Life
With minimalism all the rage at the moment, now is the time to apply a bit of zen thinking to your life. We’re not suggesting that you go meditate on a mountain top until Easter, but some calculated austerity with your spending can make a significant difference to your life. Start by avoiding any non-essential purchases until you’re well and truly back on your feet. New clothes, appliances and other luxuries can all wait. Meanwhile, dust off your best cookware and get busy in the kitchen, rather than eating out. You’ll be amazed at how much the simple life can save you in a short period.
3. Set Sale
While we’re on the Zen theme, the new year is a perfect time to declutter your home and eliminate some of the excess stuff that is taking up more space than its worth. It’s also an opportunity to offload some of the less favored gifts that you may have received last year. Rather than discard unwanted items, post them on Craigslist or Facebook community groups, and you might be surprised at how many people want your cast-offs. The best part is that you can make some extra cash quickly, which is just what you need this time of year. If you’re doing a really thorough clean-out, you might have enough stuff to hold a garage sale.
4. Budget for Success
A fresh year brings with it a fresh opportunity to put your financial affairs in order and set yourself up for a more stable future. A critical piece of this puzzle is to set yourself a realistic budget that allows you to live within your means and hopefully set a little extra aside. The first step is to make a detailed study of all your expenses and separate them into necessities, nice to haves and luxuries. This will help you to get a handle on how much you really need to live each month and which expenses you can rein in.
Too many of us start off the new year on the wrong economic foot. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of discipline and some smart strategies, you can navigate the dreaded holiday hangover and quickly get yourself back on steady footing.