The holiday season is an expensive time for everyone. Between buying gifts, stocking the pantry and traveling, the expenses can really add up. Has the holiday season caused you to dip into your savings? Read ahead to find out 5 ways to get your budget back on track.
1. Put the brakes on
Once you’ve got into the habit of spending money, it can be difficult to get frugal. The first step to getting your budget back in order is to stop spending money, which is harder than it sounds. Consider challenging yourself to a month of minimum spending and keep honest track of your expenses with a spreadsheet or smartphone app.
2. Spend less on food
Food, whether buying groceries or taking the family out to dinner, is a big piece of everyone’s budget. Just because you have to eat, though, doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot in the process. If you’ve never considered couponing, now is the time. If clipping and using coupons requires too much organization, try stocking up on sale items and planning meals around foods that are in season. eMeals, an online meal planning service, helps you pick meals based on sales at your local grocery store.
3. Clear out the clutter
With all the new purchases over the holidays, there must be a few items you no longer need. You can clear out the clutter and get yourself a few extra bucks at the same time by donating your gently used items for a tax write-off.
4. Return or sell items you don’t need
It’s the thought that counts, so when the holiday dust settles you can return the unwanted gifts you’ve received. Even non-gift items such as appliances or furniture can be easily sold to people in your community.
5. Get serious about your budget
If your budget seems out of control, it’s time to do an honest evaluation of where your money goes each month. This also may be the time to check your credit rating. There are countless motivational books out there to help you get your budget right, as well as smartphone apps that track your spending habits.
If you overspent during the holidays, the only way to get your budget back on track is to cut your spending to compensate. There’s no better time than the new year to get your finances in check, make 2014 the year of good spending habits! If you are considering other financial options, check out these bankruptcy facts that could help you with your decision.