A few weeks into January, it’s safe to say that most of us are (slowly) settling back into the regular, post-Christmas routine with work, home life, and so on. But one area that may still feel out of sorts is your finances. If you overspent at Christmas, or if you stayed on budget but still are feeling the need to rein things in a bit, consider these tips for getting back on track!
First and foremost, stop the cycle! Limit the damage to your finances right here and now, and instead of thinking, “What’s one more purchase when I’ve already spent this much?” focus on what you’ll do
differently going forward. Breaking your budget rules for the month of December is one thing, but continuing into January is another. Putting a stop to frivolous spending now is the exact action you should take to remedy the situation.
Forget your cards and go cash-only. Each week, head to the bank to take out enough cash to get you through the week and commit to spending only what you have on hand. If you don’t have $5 left for a coffee on Friday, then you don’t buy it! If you end up with extra cash leftover, carry it over to the next week for a little extra spending money or treat, or, take less out of your account and enjoy a little bit of savings. To help stick to your cash budget, try to avoid situations that you know will lead to overspending. For instance, don’t wander around the mall aimlessly, or grocery shop when you’re hungry.
Determine a realistic amount of time during which you will commit to spending as little money as possible. Start small: whether it’s a week or a month, tell yourself that you’ll only spend what you have to. I.e., no unplanned shopping trips, no purchasing any unnecessary pieces of clothing, limit spending on entertainment, and so on. Skip the take-out, coffee on the go, and so on. Make most of your meals at home and use everything you make. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can save a little extra cash!
Post-Christmas, you may find yourself with a couple of gifted items that are perhaps unwanted, redundant, or simply not the right fit for you. Increase your cash flow a little bit by selling off unwanted gifts, returning to the store anything unused, excess supplies, or unnecessary gifts for some money back. Many people are also motivated to do a clean up in January to purge household items and start the new year afresh. Look around for anything you don’t use that’s simply taking up space. List these items for sale online to supplement your cash budget.
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