Suffering from a holiday (spending) hangover? You’re not alone! It’s not uncommon to go over budget in November and December, thanks to that unexpected gift exchange, an extra guest at a holiday meal, or other little things here and there that added up.
Now that you know you’re in good company, it’s time to deal with that hangover, and get your finances back in order.
First thing’s first – figure out where and how you did your spending. The where will help you determine what sort of saving you need to do before the next holiday season comes around. The how will tell you what sort of repayment plan you need to set up.
Did you use a small personal loan to fund a family vacation? Or maybe most of your spending was on credit cards. No worries! Make a list of your balances and the interest on each.
If you’ve got a lot of high-interest credit card debt, you may be able to consolidate all of it to a single low-rate card and enjoy lower monthly payments.
Once you’ve determined how much you’ll need to pay each month, take a look at your finances. Can you afford the payment amount with your current income? If not, it’s time to start hustling! If you’re not anticipating a raise or bonus at work anytime soon, or you’ve got a non-traditional gig, now’s the time to look into other methods of income. Whether it’s driving for a rideshare service, holding a garage sale, or working for a service like TaskRabbit, the extra income can help offset your debt and get you back in the right lane.
Once your debt’s paid off, you might even keep your side hustle as a way to save up some extra cash for other expenses, and keep your regular income to cover living expenses and build up your long term savings.
Finally, take some time to review your spending habits over the holiday season. Consider where you can cut back next time, and where you’ll likely want to spend again, and start setting aside small amounts now (like from a few hours working your side-gig), so that you don’t suffer a holiday hangover again in 2019.