The holidays are finally over. The guests are gone, the decorations are down, and all that’s left is a lingering scent of pine needles…and a bulging stack of bills.
As fun as the holiday season is, it’s a time of overindulgence, often leaving our savings depleted and budgets busted. Between gifts, travel, meals and entertainment, it’s easy to overspend.
But have no fear — with a few simple spending adjustments and savings strategies, you can bounce back faster than you may think. Here are some totally doable ways to help rebuild your savings in the new year after holiday overspending.
1. Cut expenses and find extra income
Create a plan to bring in enough extra money to offset your holiday spending. It may be easier than you think. There are plenty of spending leaks you can plug, and extra money you can earn, that will fatten those savings fast. Some ideas:
- Save up to $1,000/year simply by shopping the insurance on your car and home.
- If you’re having a problem with debt, deal with it ASAP. Talk to an expert and set up a plan to destroy your debt and slash your interest expense.
- You’re hopefully getting cash back on your credit cards. But what about your debit card? This one from Discover offers 1% cashback, up to $3,000.
- Explore sign-up bonuses. For example, earn $300 just for opening a new savings account and depositing $5,000.
- Add up to $525 dollars to your savings by skipping the grocery store.
- Pick up $300 per month or more by renting out extra space in your home, like the attic, part of your garage or a parking space.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more ideas, check out 51 Fast Ways to Score $1,000 or More. Just be sure that as extra money comes in, you’re saving it, not spending it.
2. Go on a spending fast
One of the easiest routes to short-term savings success is a tried and true spending fast. For one month (or more if you can swing it), strictly limit spending to essentials only: housing costs, necessary food, transportation, and recurring bills/debt payments. No dining out, no “wants,” no extras of any kind.
Living spending-free for 4 full weeks can easily free up an extra $500+ that you can directly put back into savings. It’s tough but effective medicine for holiday budget hangovers.
3. Trim your monthly expenses
Take a close look at the non-essentials you spend money on every month outside the actual holidays, and trim what you reasonably can. Small cuts add up fast.
If your monthly burn rate is lowered by $200, that’s $2,400 more back in your accounts this year.
4. Deposit windfalls
Tax refund season arrives shortly. While it may be tempting to spend that tax refund on something fun, deposit it directly into savings. The same strategy works beautifully for any other surprise influx, like a work bonus or cash gift.
5. Automate savings
The most painless way to save is to do it automatically. Set up an automatic transfer to take a little of each paycheck and add it to your savings. Start small, but make sure it happens every payday like clockwork. If you can do that without feeling any pain, increase the amount.
Consistent automatic savings seamlessly grows your savings balance without the need for planning or willpower.
Bottom line? If you had a lack of spending control this season, you’re definitely not alone. But this is a new year and you’re a new you. With a bit of post-holiday focus, you’re going to bounce back and not only restore your bank balance, but grow it.