The holidays are right around the corner, and as much as we’re all eager to tap into our inner child and celebrate, the season also brings a lot of choices that can leave us feeling depleted, rather than fulfilled. Before the mistletoe, cozy weather and jolliness kick into high gear, November is the ideal time to take a step back and think through plans and goals for the holiday season by doing a cleanse… for your finances.
Begin your financial cleanse with a few questions: Do you need to let loose or restore yourself? Where do your finances currently stand? Do you need to do a good amount of saving or do you feel like you can spend a little more on family and friends this year? Answering these types of questions will help prioritize not only how you manage your finances but also how you actually spend your money this holiday season. Once you have that figured out, try these five tips to keep you on track.
1. Keep tabs on your spending. This is something you should be doing year round to keep tabs on how you’re spending your money and where you can cut back, but if you’re not, it’s not too late! With budgeting apps like Mint, it’s easier than ever to track where your money is going and have a comprehensive look at where you’re overspending. Start doing this and you may be surprised by just how much you’re spending on, say, eating out every night. Once you’re aware of where your money is going, you can start looking for ways to cut back in big spending areas.
2. Take a break… fiscally. If you’re already tracking your spending, another way to get started with your cleanse is trying an all out fiscal fast. Try not spending money for a week and see how you manage. This obviously isn’t a long-term option, but it may help you realize that there’s a lot you can do without and how much excess money you are spending each week. It will also help you identify your priorities when it comes to finances.
3. Set new goals. Setting financial goals — saving, investing, paying off credit cards — is something that we all do (some more than others), but it’s an easy way to motivate positive financial decisions. Resetting your goals leading into the holidays can not only help your wallet during a typically high spending season but also set yourself up for success in the new year. Also, it’s okay to start small and work your way up — if setting goals is new to you, take baby steps (like cutting back on that daily Starbucks habit, yes, even though it’s red cup season) before tackling bigger things.
4. Click “Unsubscribe.” We’re all guilty of it… subscribing to newsletters for an in-the-moment discount and then never unsubscribing. What you may not realize though is that these constant reminders of shopping in your inbox can be detrimental to your budget. It’s hard to say no to a new pair of boots when you have three email reminders that they’re 20 percent off! Also, you may want to unfollow your favorite brands and bloggers on social media, if you’re easily tempted to buy impulsively.
5. Record your purchase regrets. We’ve all bought that purse or that pair of shoes we didn’t need but had to have AND we’ve all had that feeling of buyer’s remorse — it’s normal! This sounds scarier than it is, but making a quick list of recent purchases you financially regret will help keep them top of mind when making additional purchases. Put the list in your wallet or purse to help you break the habit of making big money mistakes.
What are your best holiday spending tips? Tweet them to us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)