Did you get drunk on deals over the holidays? Were you high on holiday cheer? Well here comes the hangover. It’s easy to go overboard on gifts, parties, and charity this time of year. The hard part is staying within your means, then getting back to a normal spending routine. Now that the magic reindeer dust has settled, the eggnog is gone, and all that holiday cheer has vacated your system, it’s time to assess the damage. I hope you had at least a rough budget in mind before you started spending this holiday season. So what was your budget? And was it busted?
You should have saved all your receipts. 2 reasons:
1. In case something needs to be returned.
2. To track your spending.
- Gather up all your receipts and add up the total. What’s the damage? Did you go over your budget? What was it that put you over the edge? Could it have been avoided?
For some help organizing your expenditures, try ACCC’s Holiday Budget Worksheet. It’s a good idea to hold onto this worksheet for next year too, so you can see if you’re spending more or less from year-to-year. You can download it, fill in the numbers, and save it right to your computer.
- You’ve probably been in the giving spirit lately, which leads to a seasonal increase in spending. Don’t let that practice carry over after the holidays.
It feels good to do nice things and buy things for the people we care about, but it’s important not to let it become a habit. (I’m talking about the spending, not the helping your loved ones. You can keep that up). You may associate the idea of spending money with feeling good and making people happy, so you may be more likely to keep on spending. It’s just so easy to swipe that credit card. The reality may set in when you see your bill next month.
So, I guess the advice for today is…
Quit being so nice and stop spending your money! (more or less)
Nothing against being charitable or generous, but there is clearly a difference between typical spending and holiday gift-giving. Just be sure to shift back to typical mode. Besides, there are other ways to show someone you care. Spend your time or effort on them. Invite them over for coffee, or dinner, or to watch the Real Housewives of Somewhere.
What do you do for people when a gift isn’t necessary?