The holidays should be full of joy, so don’t let the potential for significant spending on gifts and travel linger over your head. Instead, use these tips to look ahead and bounce back to a comfortable financial situation if you end up spending more than you intended.
Review your repayment strategy
Try to get ahead by looking at any financial damage you’ve already done, and devise a payment plan that works for your budget. The payments need to be effective at downsizing your debt promptly. However, finding the resources to pay off debt can be hard when other bills need immediate attention. Here are a few tips to boost your repayment strategy.
A simple way to start repaying debt is by reallocating funds where you can. For example, if you’re struggling to pay for the gas in your car, it’s time to reconsider the monthly gym membership you don’t use. Instead, you can exercise at home. Take inventory of your memberships and subscriptions, and be sure to review the background spending you might have forgotten about. Reallocating funds can lift the burden of meeting daily financial demands so you can focus on repaying your debt.
Sell old items
Come the new year, go through your home thoroughly and note the items that you don’t need or want anymore. Your gently used home decor, furniture, and technology could be worth money to someone else. Sites like Facebook Marketplace can help you find the right buyers online. Commit to selling a particular value of items each month to give yourself comfortable room to pay all your bills.
Downsize your daily spending
Habits can be difficult to break, especially daily ones you love, such as buying coffee. But if you commit to reducing your everyday spending, you will see the reward of putting that money toward paying off your debt.
When you and your friends or family plan an activity, consider carpooling. Whenever someone else drives you, put a few dollars from what you would have used in gas toward paying off your debt. Alternatively, consider utilizing public transportation more often if you have access to it.
Ditch the drive-through
Make your coffee and lunches at home, and whenever you feel the urge to go out for food or drinks, put what you would have spent toward paying off your debt. If you typically buy coffee a few times a week, you could save upward of one hundred dollars a month by making your own.
Lower your utility bills
Since you don’t pay your utilities on a daily basis, these bills can be easily forgotten. Get into the practice of shutting off lights, fans, space heaters, and other electronics when you’re not in the room. Turn off your television, and unplug any cords that aren’t in use. Every little bit can help you reduce the costs of your utilities, especially during the holiday season.
Alternatives to help you avoid overspending
When people overspend, it’s usually because they don’t prepare and neglect to limit themselves. Here’s how you can avoid overspending this season.
Commit to downsizing your shopping list by gifting handmade items and coupons for experiences. For example, you can give a loved one a free home-cooked meal and a movie night. Similarly, if your friend or family members love a particular home decor style, you can craft a piece of art for them to hang on their wall at home.
Shop as early as you can for the best deals on gifts. Prices can be higher during the holidays because of increased demand for some items. Keep your eyes open for coupons and sales in the mail or your email inbox. If you already have a gift in mind, search for it online, and use a browser extension like Honey to track down the best pricing. Additionally, you can set alerts for when the item drops below a certain price.
This holiday season doesn’t have to be full of money woes—you can plan ahead to pay off your gifts and expenses if you find that you often spend more than you’re comfortable with.