Feeling the Aftermath of Holiday Spending? Here’s How to Bounce Back
By Valentine’s Day, it can feel like we’ve just finished a holiday marathon. Chances are, our wallets are feeling the stress. And, for those still paying off credit card balances from New Year’s Eve (okay, Christmas), consider taking a few financial steps to ease the pressure you’ve been putting on your budget – and yourself.
Draft a post-holiday budget
After the holidays, consider what you can do to cut back on your spending. If you don’t already have a written budget, this can be a great opportunity to create one. Seeing exactly where your money is going each month can provide a reality check – and spark some a-ha moments about your spending habits.
If you’re spending more than 20 percent of your monthly income on discretionary expenses (fun money), take a step back to see where you can make some cuts to get yourself back on track toward your larger financial goals.
Give your credit card a rest
If your credit cards have been working overtime during the holiday season, it might be time to give them a much-needed break. With your post-holiday budget, you can leave your credit card at home and use cash instead. This strategy can help curb the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality you may have developed toward your account balances, and will encourage you to be more mindful of your spending.
Revisit your resolutions
By February, your New Year’s resolutions may be waning; it happens to the best of us. The good news is there’s not just one, ideal time for goal setting. Use this holiday respite to address your financial goals, both short- and long-term. What are you working toward? Building up emergency savings, contributing toward a retirement fund or paying off debt are each a great place to start.
By identifying your goals, you’ll have an incentive driving the changes you’re making to your financial habits.
Find your financial teammate
Just as having a gym partner can often make fitness goals seem more achievable, find the right partner for you in your financial journey. Consider meeting with a financial planner who can help you to develop a holistic plan that incorporates your personal and professional goals. These experts can also provide support in developing your knowledge of financial terms and strategies that will help you make better decisions with your money in the future.
With these tips in your back pocket, you can bounce back from holiday spending with a renewed focus on your goals and confident money mindset for the year ahead.
Allison Engel is the director of women’s market strategy at Northwestern Mutual. She has more than 15 years of experience empowering women worldwide in the fields of media, technology, entrepreneurship and finance.