The season of giving and cheer is over and we have officially entered the new year and experiencing the financial aftermath from holiday spending. But there is a road to recovery that can put you back on track, back to routine and on track for a prosperous 2017. The following steps will help you dig yourself out of the holiday hole of debt.
Make the return.
Ain’t no shame in the returning game. More likely than not, you received a present (or four) that you will never use or actually hate. There’s a reason why you got that gift receipt buried beneath the pretty gift wrap. Take the items you know don’t want and head straight for the stores. The money you receive back or store credit can go towards something better.
Prioritize your necessities.
You might have gotten a little bleary-eyed while trying to partake in the season of giving, aimlessly pulling out the credit card to make that online purchase at the store or for the round of peppermint schnapps at the bar. Well, it’s time to put your priorities in order – which means spending on only the necessities and catching up on finances. This is a crucial period of recovery where your bills and hard expenses cannot fall by the wayside or you’ll get deeper into debt. Before buying something that’s not an immediate need, pay off that credit card statement you racked up. From there, move forward bit by bit until the point when you can actually afford luxuries.
Create a budget.
It’s the most wonderful time… to create a budget. A fresh new year means a fresh new start on setting a solid foundation for budgeting success. Outline how much you can spend on various expense categories based on your income and lifestyle needs. Once you’ve set up a plan, try placing it somewhere you’ll check regularly—be it on your phone, on your work desktop or even on the wall of your bathroom.
Manage your budget.
Making a budget is a good first step but following through is the key. There are so many tools out there that can help you do this. Technology has given us constant connection to our bank accounts and spending profile. Try out an app like Mint.com. The application not only reminds you of when bills are due and tells you what your current credit score is, it also tracks your spending habits and makes suggestions to steer you into better money management. This can work as a two-in-one visual tool for budgeting and a constant reminder of what your financial goals are.
Make extra cash.