Christmas can be one of the most exciting times of the year, but it’s also one of the most expensive. At the end of the year, everything from the dazzling decorations to the retail displays can be enough to send us into a spiral of dangerous spending that leaves our budget in tatters. The question is, how can you get back on track if your bank account has suffered the hit of an indulgent celebration?
In today’s article, we’ll be looking at five tips that you can use to get your spending back in the black, regardless of whether you struggled to stay focused in the festive period.
1. Go on a Cash Diet
Diets are common in January as people around the world struggle to meet their resolutions to “eat healthier” and lose more weight. However, rather than just cutting back on the sweets, you should also be thinking about how you can cut down on excessive spending too. A great way to improve your chances of cash dieting success is to put away credit and debit cards and start spending with nothing but cold-hard money.
According to research, people are willing to spend as much as 100% more when they can use plastic for their purchases. However, when you’re paying with cash, you feel the sting of pulling money out of your purse, and that means that you think more carefully about how you spend. You don’t have to use cash forever, just for as long as it takes to get your budget back in balance.
2. Look for Ways to Make More Money
If over-spending at Christmas meant that you ended up digging into your savings, then you might need a way of replenishing your resources. While saving more money can help in the long-term, finding extra ways to earn could be the solution that you need right now. There are plenty of ways that you can make cash straight after Christmas, from selling your unwanted gifts to putting extra hours in at the office.
Remember, thanks to things like telecommuting and remote working, it’s easier than ever to get a second job these days – particularly if you’re willing to work online. Look for virtual assistant careers that you can dedicate your free time to, or search for a weekend job that you can get to locally.
3. Find New Ways to Save
If you’ve already got a budget, then you should already be taking steps to reduce your spending wherever possible. However, the new year can bring a new perspective, so it might be a good idea to take another look at your spending habits and re-consider ways that you can save. For instance, can you switch from name-brand foods to own-brand items?
Alternatively, you might be able to cut down on other expenses like entertainment and energy if you’re willing to switch providers. Try checking out a few comparison websites to see what’s available for your regular monthly bills.
4. Rearrange your Budget
Since many people split their budget into different sections, just because you’ve over-spent on one area, doesn’t mean that you’ve exhausted all your resources. Look for places where you haven’t maxed out your spending yet, on things like entertainment, restaurants, and clothing. You might be able to rearrange money in these areas to even things out.
If there’s nothing you can do about this month, then you could always consider next month’s spending. For instance, see whether you can cut down your expenses on groceries in the month ahead by eating very basic foods. Alternatively, you could cut your entertainment budget down to practically zero for one month to help to make up for the money you’ve lost.
5. Give Yourself a Break
Changing your habits, particularly the ones related to your finances, can be a difficult process. With that in mind, one of the most important things you can do after you’ve fallen off the wagon is give yourself some time to refocus and recoup. Ultimately, you still have complete control over your budget and your life, even when things don’t go entirely as expected.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes with their money from time to time, and you might just need to give yourself a break if you’ve overspent at Christmas. Giving yourself too much of a hard time because of your bad behaviour could mean that you enter a “failure” mindset that makes it much harder to get back on track.