It happens to the best of us. The holiday frenzy has you frazzled and your shopping budget gets blown to bits. You just couldn’t help but buy that Disney Princess Barbie doll… plus the whole collection. Next, you stumbled upon a new makeup palette that had you dreaming about glitzy glam on New Year’s Eve. That went in your shopping cart as well. Oh, and let’s not forget your pooch’s new wool peacoat that complements her beautiful baby blues. Let’s face it, holiday spending can get a little out of hand. Ok, a lot out of hand. So, here are five tips to pull yourself up by those new leather bootstraps and get back on the budget train.
Credit Card Hide-and-Seek: That’s right. Take those spending traps out of your wallet and hide them in the back of your closet. When you are paying off credit card debt, or just trying to reduce spending in general, credit cards are the last thing you need peeking out of your wallet at the sale signs. Keep those little sinners out of the shopping scene and use cash or debit only for necessities. You should have plenty of new toys from Santa to keep you occupied for a while.
Free Family Fun: There are plenty of fun activities for your family to enjoy, and they won’t cost you a penny. Let your creativity run wild! Instead of going to the movie theater, string Christmas lights around the perimeter of your living room, place an empty kiddie pool underneath, fill it with blankets and pillows and cozy up for a movie and popcorn under the stars. Instead of buying something new for your house, volunteer to help build a house through Habitat for Humanity. Or instead of a fancy dinner out, volunteer to serve dinner at a local charity. Visit Volunteer Match to find opportunities in your area.
Dine On a Dime: Of course, the smartest solution to overspending on food is to dine in. But, for those who do not have culinary flair or just have to get those wild rugrats out of the house on a bitter Saturday in January, make sure you are eating for less. There are resources to help you locate dining deals in your area! Sweet!
Swap, Not Shop: Did you know that you can consign and even swap your gently used belongings online? Exciting news for a frugal momma. Rummage through your overstuffed closets and pull out items that can be replaced by your new holiday stash. Post those babies online and see the rewards come pouring in.
>> Read more: 5 Tried and True Ways to Start the New Year Off Right
Budget With a Capital B: Here’s the kicker. You can do everything listed above, but to make a real dent in debilitating debt, you have to budget. Big time. Find out what you are spending your money on, where you can cut corners, what is a necessity or just a luxury and make a plan. There are websites that allow you to log spending, keep track of your bank accounts and create budgets to get those Benjamins back in your pocket.