If you're feeling the financial crunch after the holiday season, there are a few things you can do to tighten your belt until your ship has corrected its course.
If you got a little carried away this holiday season, try taking a step back from spending for awhile. Sure we have our monthly financial obligations to make, but cut out all the extras. It might help to put away your credit and debit cards for a few weeks so that you're not tempted to make impulse purchases when out and about town.
2. Eat at home
During the holidays we're busy and on the go, and our eating habits not only turn unhealthy, they also turn expensive.
During the holidays we typically eat out more whether it's going to restaurants with family and friends or swinging by and picking up take-out after a long day of holiday shopping.
Try cooking at home the rest of the month. Sure it can be hard to do because of schedules and convenience, but it can also be a fun and entertaining activity.
Plus, cooking at home often is a lot healthier, not to mention cheaper than eating out.
3. Make smarter decisions
You don't have to be a hermit to tighten your financial purse strings, but you do have to make smarter decisions.
If you're going out to meet friends for dinner, eat at home first and order a small dessert or coffee. If you want to go see a movie, go to the dollar movie or rent one instead.
The point is, just because you're trying to cut back on your spending doesn't mean you can't still have fun. You just have to limit yourself until you're on more solid financial ground.
4. Consolidate big debt
If you have a lot of credit card debt, try to transfer your balances to one card with 0% or low interest rates. Once the balances have been transferred, shred your cards. This will help keep you from racking up more debt.
If your debt is much larger than a few credit cards, visit a debt consolidation service. There are several to choose from, and they can help you tackle the burden of paying down massive financial debt.
Each financial situation is different. The point is you need to make a plan for the New Year to alleviate financial stress as much as possible.
5. Think outside the box
There are a lot of things you can do around the house and community that doesn't cost anything. Taking your dog to the park on warmer days, drawing pictures and messing around with odds and ends craft projects, cooking dinner, and raking dead leaves are just a few examples of things to do when you're trying to save money.
Financial health makes for a healthier you, and there are a lot of things you can do to help from sinking into the stress of money problems, but you have to have the strength to tell yourself no when it comes to spending money. If you can do that then you'll pull through this rocky recovery time from the holiday spending spree we were all on just a month ago.