Did Christmas stretch your budget a little further than intended this year? It’s easy to get swept up in the extravagance of the season – and you certainly aren’t alone.
According to a survey published on Metro, some 28% of people get into debt to help finance Xmas pressies and treats, and the majority go over budget. This can leave January feeling pretty sombre, with turkey & trimmings swapped for tins of beans. Here are a few things you can do to make the financial recovery a little simpler.
Adopt the right attitude
Wallowing in guilt or regret is not going to help you get back on top. Ultimately, you made the choice to prioritise something other than your finances last month, whether that meant treats for the family or a little R&R. That’s okay. Adopting a positive attitude that recognises your control over the situation is going to get you off on the right foot.
You need to step back and take stock of the situation so that you can figure out the best way to prioritise your money in the new year. Different people overspend in different ways: for some, it means raiding the emergency savings while for others it could be taking on extra debt. In terms of paying that money back, we would suggest prioritising in the following order:
- High interest loans, like payday loans.
- Regular loans, like credit cards or overdrafts. Always make the minimum repayment, and then use any leftover money to overpay on the highest interest debt first.
- Savings, starting with your emergency fund.
Getting over your overspending may require a little bit of financial shuffling. For instance, if you usually put a certain percentage of your money into a savings account on payday, then you could consider forgoing the savings just this once and using the money to pay off a credit card or overdraft instead.
Take advantage of good financial deals
If you’re dealing with debt then you may be able to reduce the amount that you owe just by moving the money around a little bit. This will work if you have racked up spending on a credit card and are now looking at paying it back over several months. You can avoid additional interest payments by taking out a 0% balance transfer card and moving the debt over. This gives you a little bit of breathing room.
Reflect on your spending
We don’t think that people need to feel guilty about overspending every now and then: financial management is an ongoing challenge that isn’t always easy! However if you do find yourself with a financial hangover then it’s worth seeing what you can learn from the experience. Consider why you went overbudget and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Our favourite tip for avoiding overspending at Christmas is making present pacts with your loved ones. This might mean agreeing to gift under a certain budget, or to only look for second hand items, or even to avoid gifts altogether and spend time with one and other instead. It’s a great way to keep the spirit of the season alive while also managing your finances, and might be one to try for next year.