It’s no secret that holiday spending can easily get out of hand. But now that the festive season is coming to a close, there’s not much you can do to get your finances back in shape, right? Wrong! From bucking down on budgets to considering a balance transfer, there are tons of ways you can mitigate the effects of overspending over the holidays.
If holiday spending took a toll on your wallet, never fear. Here are a few simple ways to get your finances on track, just in time for a new year.
Go Above and Beyond Minimum Payments
While it can be tempting to only make the minimum payment on credit cards, don’t be fooled into thinking this approach will save you money. Paying the minimum will mean less cash out of your account in the short-term, but you’ll end up spending far more money in the long-run. Instead, counteract your holiday spending by reducing at least three discretionary expenses in the new year – such as eating out, takeaway coffee and any unnecessary online clothing purchases – so you can focus on paying off credit card debt sooner.
Consider Making a Balance Transfer
A balance transfer means moving the money you owe from one credit card to another card. The reason for making a balance transfer is that sometimes, you can get a better interest rate with a new card – saving you money and taking away a bit of that holiday-spending stress. But, be sure to choose a balance transfer option that won’t charge you a huge fee. HUECU, for example, offers a 0% fee so you can enjoy a consumer-friendly credit card with no annual fee and great cash back rewards; including 3% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else.
Buckle Down on Budgeting
What better time to get your budget in check than at the start of the new year? If your holiday spending got unexpectedly out of control, that could be a sign that you need better budgeting habits. Make it a new year’s resolution to create a budget every month and actually stick to it. Downloading a budgeting app is a great place to start, so that you can track your spending and make smarter, more informed choices every time you pull out your pocketbook. And, to make your new year’s budgeting resolutions stick, try setting smaller deadlines for yourself; for example, you might track spending in January, make a budget in February, reduce a certain category of spending in March, and so on.
Look Into a Personal Loan
Depending on how heavy a toll your holiday spending took on your finances, a personal loan could help. By taking out a personal loan, you can consolidate all your credit card debt into one loan, which might be more manageable than paying off multiple cards. While this option won’t change your credit score, it can help you to more effectively manage your debt – and therefore reduce it over time. Just be sure you’re working with a trusted financial advisor to understand all the terms and conditions before you take out a loan.
Beware Post-holiday Costs
Even though the festive season has ended, it might feel like the costs are still coming; what with the thank you cards, a belated Christmas gift for a colleague who unexpectedly bought you something, or the January catch-ups with friends you didn’t get to see in the frenzy of December. Don’t let the holiday spending continue! Keep focused and diligent about reigning in your spending. Arrange post-holiday hiking meetups rather than grabbing dinner in a bar, and craft DIY greeting cards if you want to send a message of thanks.
Make the Most of Return Policies
With the holidays done, it’s time to take a good hard look at what you bought – and see if there are any return policies you can take advantage of. Purchased three outfits online for that New Year’s Eve bash but only wore one? Got leftover gifts you thought would be perfect for friends but later put to the side in favor of something even better? Don’t let these items waste away in your closet. Get them packaged up and shipped off to the returns department, and when the money is returned to your account be sure to put it immediately toward paying off your holiday credit card bills.