The holiday season can be one of the most expensive periods of the whole year, and easily put your budget out of whack for months. While it is lovely to purchase just the right gifts for family members and friends, all of that Christmas cheer can add up to a big blow to your wallet if you’re not careful. If you’re faced with a looming credit card bill as a result of the festivities, it’s time to think about cutting costs in the New Year so that you don’t add to your debt — while still having the chance to enjoy vacations with loved ones, and attend all the best festive season parties of course!
One good way to pay off your accumulated holiday balance is to choose the best credit card for a fee-free balance transfer. In addition, there are also a variety of other strategies you can follow to help you pay less yet still have a fantastic start to the New Year. Read on for some tips to spending less today.
Set a Budget and Have a Plan
One of the first things to do to ensure you don’t end up spending more money than you should over the New Year period is to set a budget. It’s easy to get carried away with the fun of this part of the year, filled with vacation time, parties and the like, which means willpower can quickly go out the window. To make it easier to say no to things or to stop yourself spending as much, it helps to set a budget. This way, you won’t be faced with having to make decisions in weak moments and can instead simply examine whether there is room in the budget or not.
If you find that there are certain areas where you have a weakness and struggle to commit to a set amount (such as after a few drinks at a bar, or when you find those “must have” shoes at half price), have a plan in place to help yourself stay strong. This may be avoiding the shops or drinking holes you love for a certain period, or hanging out with a friend who can remind you of your goals when you need it most.
In addition, if you’re going away for a vacation in the New Year, make sure you do some research before you leave so that you find out about any potential discount offers, free activities, package inclusions and so on.
By planning in advance, you can cut back costs on often expensive items or outings such as meals, theme park entries, concerts, activities to keep the kids occupied, accommodation and more. Many destinations run free events or provide no-cost entry to public venues such as art galleries and museums, while resorts often have free kids’ clubs for the little ones, or include rental of sports equipment in accommodation packages.
Hang Out with Friends at Home
With the New Year being a common time to catch up with friends and family members, it’s easy to blow your whole month’s budget on drinks and meals at restaurants, cafes and bars. As a result, it pays to be choosy about which festivities you attend, so that you not only save money on food and drink costs when out, but also costs such as babysitting fees and taxis.
Keep in mind too that you don’t always have to go out to see those you love, or spend lots of money to have a good time. Often the simple occasions are the nicest – think laid-back “potluck” meals at home, where everyone contributes a dish, or a catch up around the fire with some mulled wine to warm up with, rather than $20 cocktails at the latest (and loudest) hot spot. Board-game nights can also be lots of fun, and a great way to have a laugh with those you care about for a very low cost.
Keep Wardrobe Costs Down
If you do decide to attend some of your favorite annual events or a select number of friends’ parties, don’t let yourself feel pressured to go out and buy new outfits for each one. Instead, stick to the classic LBD (little black dress) or a simple pairing of jeans with a tailored top.
You can really change up your look a lot by utilizing different accessories, rather than splurging on a variety of new ensembles. Play around with different shoes, handbags, pieces of jewelry, scarves, and even your hair and makeup styles and you’re sure to be astounded by just how much mileage you can get out of one or two outfits. See, you can have affordable fashion and still look great!