Financial blues: Recovering from holiday overspending

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The holidays are over and you find yourself with the financial blues. Is it because you over spent? Or is it because your rainy day funds turned into a storm? Did the holiday surprises take you off guard concerning your finances and left you with the financial blues? Now January has arrived and the bills continue to mount up. And you ask yourself what am I going to do now?
How do I recover from my overspending and get back on track?

Let’s try and get back on track. Take all your credit cards out of your pockets. Some experts tell people to freeze their credit cards and do not touch them unless it is truly and emergency. No credit cards in your pocket will help to curtail your bad spending habits. But, make sure you pay your credit cards bills on time as well as other bills.

Put yourself and family on what is known as a spending freeze for at least 2 months. Only spend on essential items such as mortgage & rent, utility bills and groceries and no extra spending during this timeframe. The extra money you will be saving will be used to pay off those holiday debts.

Those high interest credit cards time to pay them off. They are the first ones to go. Tackle one at a time and get rid of that debt as soon as possible. Do not try to over extend yourself slowly and gradually and please do not forget to pay your other bills as well.

Now take a look at your holiday spending – pull out those credit cards statements, bank statements, and receipts. Now did you overspend on gifts and other items? Eating out became a bad habit while out shopping for the holiday and it was in the budget. Take a good look at where your money really went to. Now make plans to spend less this year or maybe only within your means. If, you have not saved for the gifts do not buy it, walk away. Budget, join a Christmas saving club at a local bank or credit union and what you put in is all you spend for Christmas or other occasions.

Set your priorities and set your budget for the entire year and stick to it. Just, say no to unnecessary spending. Think twice! Reexamine your priorities and make a tighter budget. Get help from a personal financial counselor on creating a budget. You can call Airman & Family Readiness Center - we are here for you! It may take some sacrifices on your part to get your finances back on track but it is possible.

We overspend because we do not budget and not being prepared. Preparation is truly a must! Do not allow yourself year after year to continue to fall into the overspending trap and the financial blues. Get a grip on your spending! Try purchasing gift cards throughout the year or a gift here and there by September your shopping is finished and you did not overspend. Think smart and make better financial choices and see your finances start to increase. This will keep away the financial blues.