For most people, the holidays are a very stressful time of year. It seems like the minute summer ends the holidays come at us full steam! We get hit with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Unless you're rolling in the dough, it's hard to afford all of these holidays and everything that goes along with them. A lot of people end up going over their monthly budget or using credit cards to afford these holidays. So how do you get your budget back on track after holiday spending? It's actually pretty easy! Does it take time? Yes! I've listed some of the tips I use in my own household and hopefully they can help your family as well.
How to Get Your Budget Back on Track After Holiday Spending
1. Evaluate Your Current Budget- It's a new year so why not take some time to evaluate your current budget? This is a great time to really think about how much you spend during the holidays and possibly start budgeting for them. You should also use this time to think of ways you can cut down on some of your everyday spending. Whether that means lowering your Internet package, taking shorter showers, eating meatless dinners one night a week, or anything else that will help save your family money. This is the perfect time to get creative and go over your budget with fine tooth comb.
2. Create a Savings Plan- Now that you have looked at your budget and found creative ways to cut costs, it's time to create a savings plan. Your savings plan can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. Some people are using the 52 Week Savings Challenge (Place $1.00 in savings the first week of the year, $2.00 the second week…$52.00 the last week. At the end of the year you will have saved $1378.00 before interest). Others save all of their change and many people set up automatic transfers from their checking to their savings. It really doesn't matter what method you use, as long as you create a savings!
3. Create a Holiday Savings– You have now looked over your budget and created a savings plan, but has that really fixed the issue of holiday spending? Probably not. You now need to think about how you are going to save for the holidays going forward. Get a piece of paper out and start jotting down how much you spend on costumes, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas presents, Christmas baking/cooking and New Year's celebrations. The total you come up with might surprise you! I know I was shocked to see how much I was actually spending during a 3 month span. Now once you have your total, divide that total up over the course of 11 months and that is the amount you need to put away each month.
So, let's say your total was $2,000. That means you need to put away $182 a month. If you can't afford to put that much away every month toward holiday spending then you might want to rethink how much you're spending during the holidays.
4. Take In Home Inventory– Now that the holidays are over take a look around your home and think about the things you no longer need. Maybe you got new pots and pans for Christmas. Well there isn't any reason to hang onto your hold ones! Go through every room of your home and remove anything you don't use anymore, doesn't fit, or you just don't need. Once you have done a complete home inventory, have a garage sale! Use your garage sale money to fund your holiday savings account or to pay off any debt you accrued from the holidays.
5. Plan Ahead– If I could give once piece of advice this would be it. Plan ahead! Don't start thinking about the holidays in September. Start thinking about the holidays today! Watch for sales on non-perishable items you use during the holidays, gifts family and friends will like, or use a lay-away service. Do anything you can to plan for the holidays as far in advance as possible! This will save you money and stress!
How do you get your budget back on track after the holidays?