You pushed the boundaries of your Christmas budget for the sake of the winter holidays, and now your finances aren’t in a great place. Your savings are drained, and your credit cards have racked up balances. Your checking account can only handle your usual monthly expenses—anything else will put you over the edge.
Right now, a single urgent expense could send you into a panic. You’d have to use your credit card or see what online loans are available in your state of residence. If you were approved for a fast online loan, you could use the borrowed funds to handle the emergency expense that you never accounted for. Afterward, you could follow the loan’s repayment schedule and move forward.
You can avoid this stressful scenario altogether by getting your personal finances back in shape. Start recovering from your holiday overspending and get some savings back into your bank account. Here are some ways to do that:
Return Unwanted Gifts
Did someone get you clothes that don’t fit? Electronics that you already have? Books already sitting on your shelf?
If they’ve left the receipts in the bag, you can return them. You just might be able to get cash back for the return. If the store only offers store credit, ask for it as a gift card.
Sell Gift Cards
You might’ve received multiple gift cards from generic retailers and restaurant chains for the winter holidays. If you don’t think you’ll use these gift cards, don’t slide them in your wallet to collect dust. Sell them. You can sell them for gift cards you will definitely use or get their cash value.
If you return store items and receive store credit in the form of a gift card, you can sell that online, too.
Declutter the Junk
The New Year is the prime time to declutter and refresh your house. While doing this deep clean and decluttering project, you should separate your unwanted items into different categories: toss, donate and sell. The items in “sell” could help you add funds to your savings account.
You can sell plenty of used items online for a profit. You can sell your old clothes, shoes, furniture, books, collectibles, and more. Upload listings for them on popular online marketplaces and wait for buyers to bid—they might even offer more than the original asking price.
Re-Examine Your Budget
Finally, you won’t get your finances back in good shape unless you tweak your budget. Adjust your variable expenses to reduce your spending and increase your savings in a short amount of time.
You don’t have to cut out these variable expenses altogether. You can simply shrink them. For example, switching from a premium Netflix subscription ($19.99 per month) to a basic plan ($9.99) can save you over $100 by the end of the year.
What if you don’t follow a budget? That should change—and it should change immediately. A budget is an excellent guideline that can keep your spending in check and help you find opportunities to save money every single month.
Creating a budget is all too easy nowadays. You can do it by downloading one of the top budgeting apps on your smartphone and filling out the information. It’s that simple.
Don’t get down on yourself for going overboard on your Christmas budget. You can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get your finances back in tip-top shape.