How to Recover From a Holiday Budget Hangover

budget hangover

It happens every year, despite the best of intentions and setting aside money for Christmas and the January holidays throughout the year, I still end up with a bit of a holiday budget hangover.

It’s something about the season that just says spend. If it’s not gifts, it’s food and time away and entertaining and holidays. It all happens so easily and I always start January with the mission of getting my finances back under control.

If you’re like me and you’re suffering from a bit of a budget blow out, here’s how I plan to get mine reigned back in.

Who’s in?

Debt detox

If you’ve pilled the dollars onto the credit card then this is where to start. As much as it hurts to do it, I’ll be pulling the money out of savings and slapping it on the credit card. There’s no point earning interest on a savings account only to be slammed with credit card interest. 

If you haven’t got the money set aside (it happens to the best of us!) then it’s time to rein in the spending and use the extra money you save to pay off your debt ASAP. See tips below!

Rein in the spending

When I need to tighten up my spending in the short term, I think of it like a health detox. It’s not forever but I need to be super strict for a short period to get a kick start.

No eating out, no coffees, no entertainment that costs money. I also try and do a few weeks of the $50 food challenge which is usually easy enough after the holidays. It’s amazing how much you can save when you are super strict with your spending. It isn’t sustainable but I find it helps me kick start the year and get my finances back under control.

Declutter and sell

With Christmas and the holidays over and done with I’ll be doing a bit of a declutter and working out what I don’t need and what I can sell. I’m not talking about selling gifts we received (that’s kind of uncool in my books), but I’ll definitely be going through the clothes, kids toys, kitchen appliances and the like and putting them up on Gumtree or my local buy/sell/swap Facebook page. The last time I did this I scored almost $1000. Not bad for very little work.

Review the budget

I am a bit spreadsheet obsessed. I like to see where everything goes and make sure it all balances out and a pretty Excel document makes me happy.

If you don’t share my love of spreadsheets (but seriously, who wouldn’t) then perhaps just grab a pen and paper and make a list of your income and expenses. Make sure you’re in the green, and if not, make any adjustments needed. I find the start of a new year is the perfect time to do a bit of a review. I might even look forward to it…

Build back up the reserves

If you’ve drained the savings dry (and then some), then it’s time to build back up the reserves. I’m hoping that my declutter and sell mission will help with this but we’ll also be going on a money diet for the next month or so. Not as tight as a detox, and a bit more sustainable, but still stricter than we’d otherwise be. Oh and I’ll be upping the savings for next Christmas… just in case!

How did your bank balance fare these holidays? Are you suffering a bit of a holiday budget hangover too?

More ways to save for the good life:

Image: Pixabay