Anyone else over indulge this Christmas? 😐 Show of hands… ✋ Yep, me too. Whether it’s food, gifts, social events, or something else, I think we can all agree that Christmas can be a very expensive time of year. And that it’s all too easy to overspend.
Like many people I set myself a budget on Christmas spending but more often than not go over it. I get caught up in impulse buying and picking up little stocking fillers for my family and friends. And I’m not the only one, they do it too! We do this because we love each other and want each other to have the best Christmas possible.
But as the Grinch so rightly said, “What if Christmas, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” So why do so many of us get caught up overspending at Christmas? And what can you do if you did overspend?
Coping with money stress after the Christmas Period
Avoid the January Sales
As tempting as the January sales might seem, it is wise to stay clear. Especially if you over spent during the Christmas period! It’s an easy trap to fall into when everything is on sale, but if I’m honest with myself, if I didn’t want something when it was full price, do I really need it now it’s 50% off? … Probably not.
Of course there is an exception; if you received gift cards as presents then by all means, use them, but leave the credit or debit cards at home. Another idea would be to save those gift cards to use for other purchases throughout the year.
Commit to a No-Spend Month
A month of bare minimum spending can be another good way to get back on track. So, aside from essential expenses, such as rent or groceries, try to keep spending in January to a minimum. That means curbing any frivolous spending such as cinema trips, clothes, or eating out.
In fact, you may even find that your fridge or freezer is still heavily stocked from the Christmas period, so take time to assess your grocery budget for the month and try to use up what you have leftover.
Access your Overspending
Gather all of your receipts, pull up your credit card bill, or bank statements and tally up the damage. This helps you determine exactly how much you’ve spent and will help you reassess your Christmas budget in future.
For example, you may find you over (or under) estimated how much a gift would cost, or there were some people you forgot to budget for (like work friends). Even things like wrapping paper or greetings cards can all mount up. So it’s worth documenting everything for your future self while it’s fresh in your mind. depending on your circumstances it may mean you need to start saving a little earlier next Christmas.
Get back to your budget
You’ll want to get back to your planned budget as quickly as possible after the holiday period is over. And if you don’t have a one, now is the perfect time to set one up. Start my looking at your monthly income and fixed expenses to determine how much money you have left over for food, savings, holidays and miscellaneous items (such as gym memberships).
While you’re looking at your expenses keep an eye out for things you don’t use anymore, like gym/magazine/cinema subscriptions anymore. And think about cancelling them.
Return, Sell, Donate
If you’ve received a gift that doesn’t fit either you or your lifestyle, think about returning it to the store if you know where it was bought. Most stores will have a post Christmas returns policy so you may not need a receipt but keep in mind they may only offer your store credit.
The New Year is also the perfect time to declutter and either donate or sell unwanted items, including gifts. Yes, it can be time consuming, and at times, stressful too. But you’ll feel so much better for getting rid of the clutter in your life, and feel good for giving your belongings a new home too.
It’s important not to beat yourself up for overspending at Christmas , especially if you’re already experiencing post-holiday blues. Instead take this as an opportunity to plan your finances for the coming year. I’ve already mentioned budgeting but also think about any financial goals you’d like to achieve.
How do you cope with overspending? Is there something you do that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments. 😊