How to Recover from Your Holiday Spending Binge

The following post comes from the Military Saves Blog. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

January 2, 2013
By Lila Quintiliani, AFC®, Military Saves Communication and Outreach Assistant Coordinator

The wrapping paper is strewn around the house, you’ve had one too many helpings of pumpkin pie, and you’re afraid to go to the mailbox and get January’s credit card statements.  It’s happened again: you overspent this holiday season.  You’re not alone.  According to one survey, despite the financially tough times, the average American planned to spend more on holiday gifts this year than last.  If you didn’t pay cash, you must now pay for those gifts.  And if you want to start the New Year off on the right note, you’ll need to have a recovery strategy for your finances.

Stop Spending – You may be tempted to take advantage of all the after holiday sales, but if you already can’t pay for the gifts you gave, you should stop accruing more debt.

Use Your Tax Refund Wisely – About 80% of Americans got some type of income tax refund last year.  If you’re one of them, take a portion of your tax return and pay down your debts.  Some financial experts say to use the “30-40-30 plan”: 30% of your refund should go to debts, 40% to present needs, and 30% to savings, either an emergency fund or retirement savings. 

Have a Plan for Your Income – If you haven’t created a spending plan in the past, now is the time to do so.  If you’ve got one in place, it’s a good time to re-assess it.  If you’ve overextended yourself financially, then perhaps you were overlooking or underbudgeting in a spending category (like gifts).  The only way to know how much you have to save is to understand how much you’ve spent. 

Automate – Once you’ve figured out how much you can save as well as what you need to save for, it’s time to take the guess work out of it by making it automatic.  Set up an allotment or a direct deposit from your pay to a dedicated savings account. You can automate your debt repayments through your bill pay, and you can track your progress via a site like Powerpay.org, a self-directed debt elimination plan sponsored by Utah State University Extension.

Facing up to your financial situation can be tough, but if you set aside a couple of hours to assess your spending and your goals, you’ll reap the rewards throughout the year!

You can save and we can help!  Join America Saves today and receive saving tips, information, and inspiration.

Additional Savings Articles:

Take the Pledge

Savers who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. 

Take the America Saves Pledge

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Katie Bryan | November 26, 2013

    Let this be the year that you put an end to bringing in the New Year with financial guilt and stress.  http://ow.ly/rcJIn 

Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Learning to Save

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Kisha Barns’s financial situation was undisciplined, unrestricted, and impulsive before she came into contact with her local America Saves campaign, Charlotte Saves.

Read more...

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | November 7, 2014

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

Read more...

Inspired to Build Savings By Starting Small

Written by Great Lakes Michigan Saves | April 19, 2016

With little-to-no money in the bank and living on a limited income with her adult daughter, Sharon wasn’t sure if building up savings for her future was even possible. “At my age, to put debts behind me would be a relief,” she said, but she wasn’t quite sure how to even get started with a savings plan. That all changed when Sharon attended the Great Lakes Michigan Saves Pay Yourself First Saver’s Summit during America Saves Week.

Read more...

Receive Updates

Take the Pledge

Written by Super User | September 16, 2013

Start Saving

Receive Texts

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | July 15, 2014

Learn More

Partner News & Updates

Written by Katie Bryan | October 18, 2013

Sign Up