Recover from Holiday Overspending with these Quick FixesPosted on: January 22, 2020
Holiday overspending is a reality for most Canadians. According to a survey by Manulife Bank of Canada, 68% of Canadians said that they will overspend during the holidays despite the fact that they already have a lot of debts and even knowing that they will likely face negative consequences when doing so.
But, why is it so easy for us to overspend especially during the holidays?
It’s not that we’re reckless and uncaring about the consequences of debt, but more because we feel pressure to buy gifts and impress significant people in our lives. The survey revealed that one in four Canadians feel that social pressure is a contributing factor to why they overspend during the holidays. According to the survey, many of us feel pressure to spend more than we are comfortable to spend on with gifts, travel, social outings or charitable donations during the holiday season.
We want to keep up with the Joneses, or perhaps nowadays it’s more relevant to say we get caught up in social media too much, and want to have the perfect presents to give to our significant others, or buy expensive ornaments to decorate our homes, blow the budget on travel to create the perfect holiday moments, and even overindulge on food shopping to host the most elaborate holiday parties, so we can match the level of holiday shopping, decorating and celebrating that our social media friends do.
This is why financial debt from holiday overspending ranks as the number one cause for increased anxiety and stress than any other time of year. The survey goes on to show that financial stress of the holidays negatively impacts our mental health, creates tension with families and significant others and leads to a loss of productivity at work. Holiday debt sure takes on a heavy toll.
So, is it possible to recover from overspending?
Now that the season is over and the expenses have been made, it’s a bit too late to undo some of the damage. If you tossed your budget aside during the holiday season, you don’t have to spend the New Year regretting it. You can take a few quick and easy steps to recover financially from all that holiday overspending.
No Spending in January
One of the first things you can do is to cut off spending, particularly on the first month of the year when you will need to pay off those mountains of credit card bills. Make the commitment to stick to your monthly budget and not to spend on anything extra other than living expenses. This means no take outs, no clothes shopping, etc. If you’ve got a lot of leftovers from holiday meals, for example, you can eat out of your pantry, fridge, and freezer for the entire month. You can set aside around $20-40 a week to spend on milk, eggs, bread, and other fresh necessities at the grocery store, and this will leave you an extra $300-400 on your budget since you won’t be buying groceries for the month. You can put this to pay off some credit card debt or replenish your savings account. A no-spend month, even if it’s just for one month, is a great step forward. The sacrifice may be hard, but if it means being debt-free for the rest of the year then it’s totally worth it in the long run.
Earn Extra Income
Taking on extra income is one of the best ways to pay down debt plus have some additional savings. A side hustle will act as a cushion and soften the effect of any negative impact a high spending month will have on your budget. There are so many ideas to earn side income. If you have a regular job, the best way to work this out is to ask your employer for overtime opportunities. You can also take on a part-time job – with the holidays just over you can ask your neighbours if you can take down their Christmas lights or other yard ornaments or perhaps you can take on a tutoring job or a small babysitting position. There’s also a good amount of extra income to earn with renting out your home or a room in your home, or even renting out your car.
Earn Money with Unwanted Gifts
You might have received plenty of holiday gifts you don’t want or need, use them to reduce debt you’ve incurred from holiday overspending. If you have the receipts, you can return them and possibly get cash in exchange or probably get store credit which you can use to shop at that store without dipping into your own wallet. You can also sell these stuff on the Internet.
The online marketplace for second-hand or previously owned goods is in high demand. If you have clothing, shoes, accessories, electronics, books, etc that are still in the original packaging (with tags, warranty cards attached) you can easily fetch premium prices for them.
Fashion items sell fast on eBay and Etsy and, more recently, Facebook Marketplace. You can also consign high-end clothes and accessories online in Canadian sites such as Designer Swap, Own The Couture VSP and I Miss You Vintage in Toronto and Turnabout in Vancouver. Use your personal social media channels and post photos of sale items on Instagram Stories, Facebook Groups and WeChat.
Amazon Trade-In, letgo and GoRecell are great online markets to resell electronics.
If you’re nursing a financial hangover, you can feel stressed over it the entire year or you can choose to do something to fix the situation so you can quickly recover from all your holiday overspending. These quick fixes are some easy ways you can do to get back on track to financial growth. Be creative, and challenge yourself to find ways to pay down your debt quickly so you can feel good about going into the New Year free of any debt overload.
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