Christmas expenses might be the least of your worries a day after the holiday but it is an important part of the process. You could have been working hard all year long in making sure that your expenses are properly budgeted for because you want to reach your goals. One holiday should not undo all the work and sacrifices you have put in the past few months.
Have you been saving up for that downpayment for the house you want to buy next year? Did you plan to get ahead of your mortgage payment and made an effort to pay more than the minimum? You might also be putting more into your emergency fund because you want to be prepared for any unforeseen incidents that might happen.
These are just some of the possible goals you have set your sights on early in the year which could be placed in peril because of Christmas expenses. You want the holidays to be a celebration of a year’s hard work and not the reason why your efforts have come undone. Remember that it is easier to spend and lose money than earn them.
This is one of the reasons why you need to conduct a financial check-up after your Christmas expenses especially if you know that you overstretched your purchases. This is true as NYPost shares how a survey revealed that about 28% of consumers go into debt over the holidays. If you know that you bought more than you should have or given out way more gifts than you budgeted for, it is really a necessity to do a post-holiday finance check-up.
Check your credit card expenses
There is a good chance that you used your credit cards for your Christmas expenses and that can be both a good and bad thing. For one, you could get in serious debt if you used your cards without a plan or even a budget for the holidays. It is possible that you end up charging more than what you can pay for at the end of the month.
However, if you did have a plan and a budget, using your credit cards can immensely help you keep track of your spending. Your statement will show you exactly what you spent on including all the important details. You can see not only the amount you spent but when and even where you bought the items you have charged on your card.
This can show you if you overcharged on an item, bought one in impulse, and even check for irregularities on your credit card activities. Remember that thieves do not take holidays and they can attack when you let your guard down. More than checking up on what you have bought trying to be better the next time around, you can also make sure that your credit is not compromised before the year ends.
Pay back all your Christmas debt
Once you have looked into your Christmas expenses, the next thing you need to check is if you can pay back everything before the month ends. If not, then you can at least be prepared and start identifying ways to manage the debt. If your total credit card payment is too much, it is possible to pay the minimum to keep you current. Remember though that you run the risk of paying more over the course of time.
You can also look at other debt repayment options such as debt consolidation to help you manage your holiday debt. If you have been using multiple credit cards to pay for your Christmas purchases, consolidating them can give you an easier time in overseeing your payments. For one, you get to focus on a single account rather than multiple payments every month.
Consolidating can also help lower down what you pay for every month if you spread out the payment over a longer period of time. This comes down to what you can pay for every month and how much extra you can put in on top of that amount. The reason to pay this down as fast as possible is that the longer and smaller the payments are, it usually ends up costing you more in the end.
Look at your household budget
Your Christmas expenses can do a number on your household budget as well so it is a good idea to try and look at it after the holiday as well. Remember that your budget is one of the most important financial tools you need to monitor to help you make informed money decisions. This is why it is important to make sure that your budget is always on track.
After Christmas, you could have dipped into some of your funds or even used up a part of what you need to pay for some of your financial obligations. You need to catch these things early on and be able to make the necessary adjustments. This will help you stay on course and be able to keep away from fees and penalties from lenders.
It is also a good idea to put a plan together on how you would build your funds back up to help you stay on track. If you used a part of your reserve fund, it is important that you bring it back up in case you have a need for it. If you used the money you were saving to pay some bills, it is a good idea to focus on that first before you end up sending late payments and being assessed with late fees and charges.
Do you have big plans for the New Year?
One thing you need to check on after Christmas expenses is your New Year plans and what expenses you have lined up for it. Remember that this also puts additional stress into your finances especially if you did not budget for them. It can put you over and into the red in time for the new year and you start the year on a bad note. As CNBC shares, under 30% of consumers who got in debt over the holidays would need 5 months to pay it back.
The good thing about New Year’s celebration is that there are a lot of events you can choose from and tickets can cost from really inexpensive ones to pricey events. Choosing one will now depend on your budget and you can even have it with family and close friends watching fireworks so you spend almost nothing. One tradition you can start for this holiday is to make sure that you are surrounded by people you love like family and friends and you start planning the expenses from there.
Financial resolution for the coming year
After looking at what your possible New Year’s expenses can be after your Christmas expenses, it is a good idea to start polishing your financial resolution list. A lot of people put this together for different reasons and one of them is that it can help you put your priorities in order as soon as the new year begins.
You can even create a financial resolution list so you can have a blueprint of what you want to achieve for the year. This can serve as your guide and keep you on track for a whole year. You will make mistakes in your life and having a list of what you want to achieve can give you a sense of direction and remind you why you do the things you do.
Christmas expenses are part of the holiday tradition and the idea after it is to make sure that your finances are not heavily affected by it.