The holiday parties have come to an end, all of the presents have been opened, the New Year has officially arrived and it’s likely you may be feeling some post-holiday spending regret right about now.
According to a Forbes article, the average consumer goes over their budget by $116. They also say the average millennial spends around $1,400 and parents spend nearly $500 on each of their children. That’s a lot of money!
Spending over the holidays brings a sort of instant gratification to us as consumers. However, along with it also comes a cumbersome regret once we look at the post-holiday budget and realize how much has been overspent.
Though it’s too late to make up for the last holiday season, we have a few ideas that will help you pay off this year’s holiday debt and avoid overspending during the holidays next year.
Start saving right now for next year. There are several ways you can quickly and painlessly stash away money for next year’s holiday season. For instance, here at Marine Bank, you can use the Common Cents program. This program rounds card purchases up to the nearest dollar and automatically puts it in a designated savings account. This is essentially like an online “change jar.” We’ve had customers effortlessly save hundreds of dollars using this program.
Another easy way to start saving money is by using Marine Bank’s online banking to set up automatic transfers from one account to another. If you have a goal of saving $1,000 before the holiday season next year, automatically transfer $50 per paycheck toward your savings. You have the control to make changes to the transfers if you ever find that you need to change the amount or stop the transfer altogether. Customers can manually go in at any time to make those adjustments.
If you have more of a type A personality and you thrive on setting goals and meeting them, consider Marine Bank’s Money Manager. You can set up goal-oriented savings accounts for specific events, such as the holidays. This is also a great way to save for vacations, college funds and many other significant life occasions that require a hefty financial sum. This is an easy way to keep track of your account and make sure you’re meeting your goals.
Of course, though, I would recommend to first pay off any remaining holiday debt from last year before you begin saving for next year. Which brings me to my next point.
Stop spending frivolously. November and December were fun, weren’t they? Spending generous amounts of money on entertaining items that bring copious amounts of joy to the people we love most is really fun! But now it’s time to be tight with our finances and assess the overall budget situation.
How much did you overspend during the holidays? How much do you still owe from the holidays? While the ultimate goal is to not have debt due to holiday spending, it is sometimes unavoidable. If you do have debt, a respectable goal is to have it all paid off in the first quarter of the year. If you haven’t already, create a plan to help you accomplish getting your holiday debt paid off this quarter. In the same way, you can utilize the Marine Bank features mentioned above to save money for the future, you can use them to help you develop a plan that assists you in paying off current debt.
Purchase gifts throughout the entire year. Once you have paid off any current holiday debt, start your next Christmas list and check it twice. This gives you ample time and opportunity to find items at the lowest price or even seek out sale items. Plus, you might win the “Auntie of the Year” award if you find that one hot item that no else is able to get their hands on during the holidays. And to top it off, you’ll probably get it at the lowest price since you’ve been on the prowl for an entire year.
Begin applying these ideas now and you will quickly get your budget back in order and be prepared during next year’s holiday season. That way you can make both your holidays and post-holidays merry and bright!