Did you go a little overboard with the Black Friday deals and holiday shopping? Or maybe you celebrated a little too much for New Year’s. You may have badly gone over budget and you’re wondering “now what?” This article will help you learn how to recover from holiday overspending.
How To Recover From Holiday Overspending
Assess The Damage
The first thing you need to do is assess the damage and determine exactly how much you spent during the holidays. Don’t wait until your credit card statement comes to see what you owe. Log into your credit card’s website to check your current balance today.
Write down how much you owe on each credit card and at what interest rate. Add up the current balance of all the credit cards you used to do your holiday shopping.
It’s better to know what’s coming, so you can prepare for what you need to pay back.
An easy way to recover from holiday overspending is to return as many purchases as possible. Start by returning the gifts you bought for yourself. If you don’t have a receipt, some stores will still accept returns in exchange for store credit.
I would return purchases even if you only get a store credit because you can use that credit to purchase necessities that you would need to buy in the future anyway.
Sell Unwanted Gifts You Received
The next step to recover from holiday overspending is consider selling the gifts you received to earn some extra money. You can sell your unwanted gifts on sites such as Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook marketplace.
Use Holiday Bonuses
If you are lucky enough to get a holiday bonus, take that money and put it towards your debt. Don’t look at your bonus as an opportunity to spend more; use it to recover from holiday overspending.
If you’re not fortunate enough to get a holiday bonus, use any Christmas money you received to put towards your credit card bill. Also, consider using any other lump sums of money you received from things such as birthdays or tax returns (if you’re still paying off debt at that time).
Make A Budget
Having a budget is the best ways to get your spending under control and recover from holiday overspending. It allows you to figure out what areas of your spending you can cut back on and save some money.
You can then put this extra money you have, by cutting back on your spending, and apply it to your debt.
If you need help making a budget, you can download this FREE Printable Monthly Budget to help you get started.
However, if you want to get serious with your savings and need something a little more sophisticated, you can get my Monthly Budget Template. This is the template I actually used to save over 50% of my income every month, and it is the same template I use to this date.
Determine Your Repayment Strategy
If you take my advice, by this point, you have reduced your debt to as little as possible by:
- Returning all the items you could;
- Selling any unwanted gifts to earn some money; and
- Using any extra holiday bonuses you had to reduce the amount you owe.
Now, you have to make a repayment strategy to pay off any remaining debt.
Start by listing all of your credit card debt from highest to lowest interest rate. Use the Debt Worksheet in my FREE Resource Library to help you keep track of this.
Next, plan to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first (even if it is the debt with the highest amount), because it makes the most financial sense. Using this strategy will make sure you pay the least amount of interest on your debt.
For your lower interest debt, pay only the minimum monthly payment while you are focusing on paying down your highest interest rate debt.
Once you have paid off one debt completely, take the funds that are now freed up and apply it to the next debt in line until that is completely paid off—then repeat again. This debt payoff method is frequently referred to as the Debt Avalanche Method.
If you’re like me, you like to use paper and software to help you with your financial journey. For those of you interested in using technology to help with your debt repayment plan check out Undebt.it. It is a FREE tool to help you get out of debt.
I absolutely LOVE this website! There are SEVEN debt payoff plans you can choose from (including the debt avalanche and debt snowball method). You can even compare the different payoff plans to see which is best for you or make your own custom plan!
They also have debt payoff calculators which is also FREE. You can keep track of all your payments and your debt payoff progress in one place. This software is so AWESOME and absolutely FREE! I haven’t come across something this good in a while!
You can also sign up for the premium account that has more features for you to take advantage of. The premium account is $12 for the entire year (only $1/month), which is still very affordable.
There’s a 30-day FREE trial if you want to check out the premium account. What I would do is sign up for the free account first, and then click on the free trial to check out the premium features. If you like it, then sign up for the premium account.
Once you have a debt repayment plan, you can use an app like Tally. Tally is the world’s first automated debt manager that makes it easy to save money, manage your cards and pay down balances faster. It’s absolutely free to download, and they don’t charge any fees to use the app.
The way Tally works is they monitor your balances, APRs, and due dates on each credit card you register. Tally’s smart technology will determine which cards to pay first, based on factors such as APRs and utilization.
In order to get the benefits of Tally, you will need to qualify for and get a Tally credit line. Depending on your credit history, your APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.9% – 25.9% per year.
If you have cards with a lower APR than your Tally credit line, you can manage the payments to those cards yourself; or have Tally pay only minimum payments to those cards to make sure you won’t be charged late fees.
Speed Up Paying Off Your Debt
You can also use an app like Qoins to help you automatically pay off your debt even faster. You’ve likely heard of apps that turn your spare change into investments (like Acorns) but Qoins is an app that takes that change and uses it to pay off your debt.
Qoins will send out payments according to the schedule that you’ve set up. They also track how much you’ve paid out towards your loans and see how much of a dent you’ve put in your debt.
I highly recommend Qoins if you want to speed up paying off your debt, while making it as easy and painless as possible.
Start Saving For The Holidays Now
Keep in mind how you got in this situation in the first place—you probably failed to properly prepare for the holidays in advance.
It’s never too early to start saving for the holidays. Start putting money aside as soon as possible by creating a holiday sinking fund. Use these FREE Cash Envelopes to store the money for your sinking funds.
If you want to learn more about sinking funds, read my article “What Is A Sinking Fund And Why You Need It?”
Don’t feel defeated because you overspent during the holidays. You can recover from holiday overspending by first determining the damage. Once you know how much you owe, try to reduce that number as much as possible. You can reduce that amount by returning purchases, selling unwanted gifts, or using any extra money you receive and put it towards your debt.
Make a monthly budget to see what areas you can cut back on spending and have some extra money. Next, repay your debt by paying the highest interest debt off first. Finally, start saving for the holidays now so you are not in the same situation again next year.
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