If you’re like most people at this time of year, the state of your finances might feel similar to that feeling you have waking up the morning after the night before – in that there’s a certain sense of grogginess coupled with despair and remorse… it can be tempting to bury your head in the sand and hit the snooze button, preferring to deal with it later, but taking control of the situation by being in the empowered position to nip issues in the bud rather than let them spiral out of control is by far the best strategy.
Remember,it’s okay to not feel okay, and like an alcohol induced hangover, this will pass. Here’s a few pointers to help you get your finances back on track, as the majority of the world spend this month nursing their financial hangover after the festive period.
1. SELL ITEMS YOU DON’T USE
Many people have things lying around, or even in draws or the attic, that they don’t use anymore. If you are willing to consider selling these items, you could sell them online via sites like Craigslist or eBay – or have a more traditional garage sale. If you have gift cards that you don’t plan to use, you could sell these too, and if you have any unopened gifts that are unwanted after Christmas, then consider taking them back to the store and receive a store credit in return.
2. REDUCE CURRENT SPENDINGS
It can be heard to cut back after such exuberance in the festive season, however, you’ll be joining the majority of people as they tend to their financial hangovers after spending so much during the holidays. Indeed, January is one of the quietest times of the year for restaurants and hotels.
3. MANAGE YOUR CREDIT CARDS
Focus on paying credit cards that have the highest Annual Percentage Rate (APR) first. You might find that you can’t realistically repay your credit card balances within three months. In this scenario, consider getting a credit card that levies no interest on balance transfers for 12 – 24 months. Pay the nominal transaction fee (approximately three percent of the amount transferred). You will be able to save more money on this card. Remember that your existing card will charge you interest once you cross the interest-free period.
4. DON’T USE PLASTIC
Until you repay all your bills, avoid making any further purchases on your credit card; and try to pay in cash for making purchases, as this often leads to people feeling more connected to the amount they are spending. Doing this will ensure you avoid adding to your existing levels of debt.
5. CONSIDER GETTING ADVICE
If your finances are in bad shape you might want to consider getting some information on what debt relief options are available to you, as whilst it might feel like you are alone in this situation, there’s a reason so many debt products and advice lines exist today… as a society, personal debt is becoming more and more prolific – what was once something people would be embarrassed about, is now so common that a lot of the stigma has faded, and organisations are more understanding toward people in challenging financial positions.
In summary, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who will be nursing their financial hangover this New Year. The trick is to get back on track as fast as possible, and to do that, you need to focus on getting more money in and spending less – even if just for a little while.