The holidays are my favorite time of the year. I love spending time with family and friends, eating all the delicious food, and I especially love giving gifts to my loved ones. However, all of that giving can get expensive! So, today I’m going to share with you my 4 best tips to help you recover from holiday spending.
4 Tips to Recover from Holiday Spending
Christmas is over. Our hearts are full of joy, our bellies are full of cookies, and our bank accounts… well, they might not be so full. So how can we avoid the January hangover? I’m going to tell you how to give your bank account the boost it needs to recover in this post.
1. Go Big with a Spending Freeze
A spending freeze is a period of time (usually a week or two) in which you don’t spend any money. Some people do a spending freeze in which they allow themselves to buy some groceries, and some people don’t buy anything at all.
After the holidays is actually the perfect time for a spending freeze, because chances are your kitchen is full of leftovers! Eat those up and hold off on purchasing any new groceries until the food you have is gone.
You can my in-depth post about how to do a spending freeze here: No Spend November – Everything you need to know
I’m going to do a one week spending freeze starting January 1st. I like to do this to give my finances a boost and start off the year on strong financial footing.
If it’s your first time doing a spending freeze, I recommend starting with one week. You could even do one week of a freeze, take one week off, and then do another week long freeze.
Just make sure that you decide what you’re saving this money for before you start, and stick to that purpose after you’ve saved it! For example, if you’re saving to pay off those credit card bills you’ve racked up. After your freeze, make sure that you take the money you’ve saved and apply it directly to those bills.
2. Replace going out with staying in
Instead of going out on a big, expensive family outing, spend some time together at home playing board games, watching a movie, or take advantage of the season and play in the snow!
Replace date night out with a date night staying in. Have a picnic style dinner by the fireplace, make a meal together, or just do something special at home that you both enjoy.
Apply this philosophy to girls night out too! Invite your friends over for coffee or wine and skip the night out of dinner and shopping. All you want to do is sit around and talk anyway – you can do that anywhere!
It’s important to remember that you can spend time with the people you love without going out and spending a lot of money!
Related: 5 Tips to Shop Less
3. It’s OK to make returns
When the holidays are over, you’ll likely find yourself left with a lot of stuff and not a lot of money. I want to reassure you that it’s ok to return the things you don’t need!
Now, I’m not saying that you should return the super thoughtful gift that your close family member gave you. But for the generic gift that you just don’t need or that you may have received more than one of – go ahead and return!
Just remember that these returns only help you apply that money to the areas that you really need it, like depositing it in your bank account or paying those credit card bills.
4. Make extra money
If you need to replenish the money spent on the holidays, it may seem like common sense to make some extra money.
I wanted to include this point because oftentimes people think that making extra money isn’t an option. There are many ways that you can make extra money besides the usual options like picking up extra hours at work.
Maybe you can spend a few nights babysitting or tutoring for a nearby family. Stuck on how to find a babysitting or tutoring job if you don’t know anyone who needs it? You can always put up an ad online on Craigslist, Care.com, or even Facebook. But don’t think it has to be online. Old school paper-ads still work! Try putting up a flyer outside a local gym or grocery store.
Another great way to make extra money is to sell some things you don’t need! These days, it’s super easy to sell things online using websites like Amazon and EBay. Take a walk around your house and try to find some things you don’t use any more (perhaps an old gps?) and look them up to see what they’re worth. It’s worth a try!
This is a great idea for kid’s stuff too! While you’re cleaning out their room to make space for all the new clothes and toys, collect some things they’ve outgrown and bring them to a consignment shop. You won’t make a fortune doing this, but something is always better than nothing!