5 Ways to Get Your Budget Back on Track After the Holidays
The holiday season is an expensive time for everyone, and even more so if the year has already put a strain on your finances. Holiday expenses – like buying gifts, stocking the pantry for guests, and traveling across the country – are sure to mount up. Has overspending during the holidays caused you to dip into your savings, or even heightened spending on your personal credit card bill? Read ahead to find five ways to get your budget back on track.
1. Put the brakes on:
Once you are in the habit of spending money, it can be difficult to become more frugal. The first step to getting your budget back in order is to stop spending money, which is more complicated than it sounds. Consider challenging yourself to a month of minimum spending and keep honest track of your expenses with a spreadsheet or smartphone app.
2. Spend less on food:
Whether buying groceries or taking the family out to dinner, food is a big piece of everyone’s budget. You have to eat, but you don’t have to break the bank in the process. If you’ve never considered couponing, now is the time. If clipping and using coupons requires too much organization, try stocking up on sale items and planning meals around foods that are in season. Websites like eMeals, and other online meal-planning services, help you pick meals based on sales at your local grocery store.
3. Clear out the clutter:
With all the new purchases over the holidays, there must be a few items you either no longer need or can certainly live without. You can clear out the clutter and get yourself a few extra bucks at the same time by donating your gently used items for a tax write-off, redeemable with the IRS.
4. Return or sell items you don’t need:
It’s the thought that counts, so when the holiday dust settles, you can return the unwanted gifts you’ve received. Even non-gift items, such as appliances or furniture, can easily be sold to people in your community. Then, take that new influx to help repair your credit score. Sites like eBay, Poshmark, and Grailed are also excellent ways to sell items and boost your monthly budget.
5. Switch to a cash-only system:
If you’re someone with monthly subscriptions and other regular daily or weekly expenses, it can be best to switch to a completely cash-only system with spending categories. Decide on a weekly budget of disposable income, and then take out only the amount of cash that you’ve deemed necessary. When you’ve spent all that money, it’s gone until the following cash allotment.
Get serious about your budget:
If your budget seems out of control, it’s time to do an honest evaluation of where your money goes each month. This also may be the time to check your credit rating. There are countless ways out there to help you get your budget right and take control of your money. Check out Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, as well as available smartphone apps that track your spending habits.
If you overspend during the holidays, the only way to get your budget back on track is to cut your spending to compensate. There’s no better time than the new year to get your finances in check. Make 2023 the year of good spending habits! If you are considering other financial options, Contact A Bankruptcy Attorney Today.
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Caldwell, M. (2021). How To Switch to a Cash-Only Budget.
Charitable Contribution Deductions | Internal Revenue Service. (2022).
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Gordon, S. (2022). Guide to Returning Gifts: Retailers With the Best and Worst Return Policies.