A 2015 study by LendingTree found that one out of every four Americans struggles to pay off holiday shopping debt. Suffice to say, a lot of us are a bit shocked by how much we spent over the holidays. But the damage doesn’t have to be crippling. Here are some tips to help you take back control of your finances.
Cut Down Credit Debt
Get your finances in order paying off high interest credit card balances as soon as you can. This should be your top priority. To keep from increasing debt, consider a credit card hiatus for a month or so.
Cut back on your expenses wherever possible so you can pay down debt. That means eliminating unnecessary spending on non-vital purchases and services. Some suggestions include searching for low-cost entertainment options such as free concerts, local sporting events or library events. Cooking more meals instead of dining out will also help you save money.
Revise Your Budget
A budget is a really good idea to help you clean up the consequences of overspending over the holidays and get back on track. Subtract monthly expenses from your monthly income to find out what you have left over, then set goals, such as reducing that post-holiday debt.
Earn Some Extra Cash
Consider selling household items you no longer need on sites like eBay or Craigslist to make a little extra money. You can also have a good old-fashioned yard sale. You can earn additional cash by requesting overtime, babysitting, tutoring or taking a temporary part-time second job as well.
Budget Ahead for the 2017 Holidays
After spending way too much you probably think you won’t ever do it again. But chances are you could get caught up in the holidays all over again. A smart move would be to try and get ahead of the game by budgeting for end of the year festivities after paying back the money you spent in 2016. Spread out the costs throughout the next 12 months if possible, plan gift ideas early and watch for sales all year round.