During this time of year, we all get caught up in the spending frenzy and succumb to peer pressure to buy things we can't afford. But if we continue to overspend without thinking it can lead to a very painful financial hangover come the New Year.
A financial hangover happens when you stop and realize you've busted your budget, spent way too much money and are left with the painful consequences. It's not a fun experience at all, especially when it comes to an empty bank account.
You just keep replaying "what was I thinking?" over and over in your mind. Here are the main symptoms of a financial hangover and how to deal with it.
- spending fatigue
- financial anxiety
- bank account dehydration
- sensitivity to money discussions
Face the aftermath head-on
Make a choice to face your problems head-on, by logging into your bank account, pulling out your credit card receipts and calculating exactly where your money went. It's a difficult task, but it's very important.
It can help identify the problems and make allowances in your spending for that category next time. You won't be caught off guard again or keep making the same mistake.
Go on a short spending diet
Like with a regular hangover, indulging in more of what gave you the problem, is not the answer. It might be a good idea to challenge yourself to a financial diet. Try to go 30 days without shopping or buying non-essentials.
Once you try it, you might find you don't need those items anyways. It takes a lot of self-control and dedication to stick to a diet (of any kind) but it always makes you feel better in the end. It's better for your wallet and your mind!
Be a deal hunter all year long
As you're surfing online, or browsing a store, think about who you can buy gifts for. This is also a great way to find gifts that people really want.
As your friends and family "drop hints" throughout the year, pay attention and make yourself a reminder for later. The further ahead you plan, the less stressful and expensive the gift giving time will be.
Make the most of it
A quick solution to a financial hangover is to return or sell any gifts you don't need. You can exchange them for cash or items you really want instead. Any extra money can be put towards areas you busted within your budget.
Many stores will take exchanges, or refund the money on a gift card or merchandise credit. Then you can sell any extra items on eBay, Craigslist and get cash for any gift cards instantly with PlasticJungle.com.
Realize it takes time
There are no quick fixes, all you can do is look at what you did in the past to hopefully avoid it in the future. It will take time for your bank account and credit cards to recover from the damage. Take it slow, pay everything off as quickly as possible and then move on towards your other financial goals.
Don't get discouraged if you overspent and blew your budget, learn to fix the problem then move on. You can't go back and change how you spent your money, but you can avoid the same mistake in the future.