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How to Avoid the January Finance Hangover from Christmas

Every single year it happens. The chaos of the Holidays. We spend more, work less and always fail to account for December when we do our budgeting. It’s amazing how easy it is to spend money in December. If you read our previous post you’ll be aware of some great ways to celebrate Christmas on a budget, but this post is a little different. The goal of this post is to ensure that through careful planning you are able to spend the money you want to when Christmas rolls around. Let’s take a look!

Why is Christmas such a financially difficult time?

There is the pressure to buy gifts for your family, extended family, friends, and work colleagues. There is the added cost of decorating your home. There are the travel expenses, and it all comes at the worst time. It’s December, businesses are trying to close-out their years and plan for the next. Productivity across the board falls, and for most companies, December becomes the most challenging month out of the year.

Then January comes along and we get our credit card bills, then the stress hits and we are trying to figure out how to pay off our debt and budget for the next year; most of the time the January Finance Hangover continues for several months.

It’s a cycle that most people go through each year and if you are sick of the stress associated with the Holidays then there is an easy way to avoid it.

4 Steps to Avoiding Financial Hangover after Christmas.

  1. Pull your bank statements and credit card statements from last Christmas. Find out exactly how much money you spent for the month of December. Then break your spending down by category. Most of the increased spending is likely to be in TRAVEL, SHOPPING, DINING OUT.
  2. Next, you should already have a budget for these categories, if not, then that is your first priority. But assuming you have a general budget, you should now be able to identify how much extra you need to allocate for Christmas.
  3. Set up a Christmas Savings Account. This needs to be a separate savings account, most banks now allow you to setup multiple savings accounts and give them nicknames, if not, then you should find a bank that does. There is no better way to budget then creating saving categories for expenses (Car/Home Maintenance, Travel, Christmas, etc.).
  4. Setup an auto transfer each month to put aside money for Christmas. If you know that you spend an additional $2000 for Christmas, then you need to set aside $167 each month.

For budgeting, the smallest changes can lead to the largest impacts. Don’t wait until next year comes around.

If you are sick of feeling the finance stress after the Holidays then create a budget and plan for it now. To implement all 4 steps from above you need to spend about 1 hour of your time; then after that, you will only need to spend about 10 minutes per month making sure you transfer the funds to your christmas account (and even that should be automated).

At Herrin Law we believe in a holistic approach to recovery from bankruptcy which is what prompted us to create resources like this one in addition to the bankruptcy law services we provide. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy or need legal financial advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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