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Tackle your holiday spending
If you blew your holiday budget, get back on track by following a few simple financial tips
Did you wake up January first with more debt than you had planned? Did your holiday spending get out of control? It’s okay. You can get your budget back under control.
It is easy to bust your holiday budget when all you have to do is hit “enter” a few too many times during a late-night buying frenzy. But what is done is done. Now it is time to build a recovery plan for your budget.
If you spent a lot online during the holidays this year, you are not alone. Holiday sales jumped in 2022, despite higher prices and supply chain challenges.
How to pay down your holiday spending
Assuming you didn’t blow your entire savings or maxed out all of your credit cards, you should be able to recover from your holiday spending spree relatively easily.
Follow these steps to reach your budget goals:
Step 1: Review the damage to your finances
The first thing you need to do is get a clear picture of what you’re dealing with. Review your credit card balances, check your bank account balances, and check on your credit score. Using this information, you can define what your budget goals are.
Do you want to pay off all of the new debt? Are you looking to recoup a certain amount to your checking account? What are you willing to do to reach your goals? Where do you want to be financially this time next year?
Step 2: Stop spending
This step seems obvious but is often missed. Stop spending on things you don’t need right now. To help control temptations empty your “I wish” online shopping carts and remove shopping apps from your phone. If you must, allow yourself a small purchase when budget milestones are met as a reward.
Step 3: Create a holiday spending budget
Create two budgets. One budget based on your current income and one based on your income plus a side gig. You can compare these budgets to see if getting a side job makes sense in your situation.
When making the budget, you plan to follow, make sure that it is reasonable and has some wiggle room. Items to be considered in your budget: paying off holiday spending, saving for next year, paying down general debit, and growing an emergency fund.
Step 4: Pay down debt
Make a plan for paying down debt in the most efficient way possible. Consider the 4 Proven methods for paying credit card debt. You may even want to consider a low-rate personal loan or a balance transfer credit card. If your property has partnered with Roost, you can even tap into a portion of your security deposit to pay off some more expensive debt or cover a gap while you get back on track.
Step 5: Plan your holiday spending for next year
To avoid this happening again, plan for next year. Build into your budget a way to save holiday funds in advance of the holidays. Plus, if you are thinking about the holidays throughout the year, you may find good sales and deals outside of the holiday season. There is nothing wrong with buying a holiday gift in June if it’s a good deal.
5 Creative ways to make fast cash for paying off your holiday spending debt
If you’re really motivated to pay down your holiday spending debt you might want to consider ways to make fast cash to avoid stressing out your everyday budget. It may require extra work hours and time sacrifice but it will help you quickly squash that annoying debt.
1. Return purchased items
Certainly, don’t return your kid’s toys or gifted items. But do you really need that $1000 stationary bike that you bought for yourself — that you know you’ll never use? Many retailers offer an extended return period after the holidays that may be worth checking out.
2. Get a side gig
By working a few extra hours per week doing a side job, you can earn the funds you need to pay down your debt. Many side hustles like Uber Eats can easily be done around your regular job.
3. Sell some of your stuff
You can easily sell things you no longer need online via a local marketplace. You can sell used items that you don’t need anymore. Or, you can sell new items that you perhaps received as a gift. Nowadays, you can even sell your car online.
4. Cut out some expenses
Even if it is temporary, consider cutting out some expenses such as monthly subscriptions, an unused gym membership, or costly nights out on the town. You can even call your car insurance company or internet provider to see if they can lower your monthly payment for you.
5. Get a roommate
Did you know splitting living expenses with a roommate could save you nearly $1000 per month! With that much money, you may not even need to get a side job. People of all ages are increasingly getting a roommate to save money.
Getting a handle on your holiday spendings is possible with a bit of planning and effort. Adding a side job may help you reach your goals even more quickly. Or, perhaps getting a roommate will help you reach your financial goals. Whatever your plan is, stick to it, and soon you’ll find yourself debt-free.
6. Sell your gift cards
Did you get some gift cards that you probably won’t use? There are a plethora of online gift card exchange sites where you can sell your gift cards for cash. Read more about how to sell your gift cards here.
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