The holidays have just about come to a close which means many people are checking their bank accounts with trepidation. This time of year is joyous and special as it is an ideal time to reconnect with friends and relatives. Those friends and relatives can also come with added headache if you are one who goes to great length to please those you care about. If this is you, chances are you went all out in the spirit of gift giving and you may be looking to re-calibrate your finances in order to get back on track. So maybe you went over your budget, put gifts on credit cards or took a small loan to ensure you could deliver with gifts this year. Read further as I suggest some tips to replenish that bank account and hopefully put you ahead in the future.
Continue to Sacrifice: What did it take for you to make the holidays a success in 2017? Did you pick up extra shifts at work? Add a part time job? Or maybe you took advantage of some freelance opportunities. I often see people work very hard to a certain point and than stop. The question I have is why not maintain the same grind after the holidays as you did before the holidays? After all there is a good chance you will continue to benefit from the extra income. Use the extra funds to pay down holiday debt or prepare for the holidays in the following year. Remember think long term when working to improve your finances. Short term discomfort, Long term fulfillment.
Plan Ahead: Most of the holidays we recognize in America fall in December and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Therefore you know when you will need to do extra spending but we never seem to plan ahead to alleviate the financial strain. But why not plan ahead? Speak to your bank or local credit union to see if they offer Christmas clubs savings plans. These types of savings accounts can be opened up in the beginning of the year. Throughout the year you have the ability to add funds to the account at any time to be used when you need the funds for festive months. Too much work? Why not buy gifts or holiday decorations at the end of December when most products go on sale and tuck them away until needed next year. Have a little extra cash in your pay a particular week, go ahead and buy a gift and save it for the holidays
Take Advantage of Tax Refunds: There has been plenty of talk about the new GOP tax plan that is said to trim the tax bill of many Americans. The new changes will likely not go into effect until next year filing season. The average tax return is about $3000. Instead of going on a shopping spree, try splitting the money into three buckets. Bucket one can be savings, bucket two can be paying down debt and the third bucket can be reserved for your holiday fund. These are just suggestions and you can ultimately decide to spend your refund as you choose but please be wise. We are talking about a household influx of almost $30,000 after 10 years. It is in your best interest to treat this money right.