Are you feeling the crunch from your holiday spending? Despite best intentions, the holidays seem to encourage over indulgence – food, drink, spending. We’ve all been there. And like clockwork, our over-indulgences come back to haunt us around this time of year as the credit card bills begin to arrive (and our clothes are feeling a little snug) and we wonder what we were thinking!

Here are 3 simple strategies to keep the ghosts of Christmas  past from coming back next year….at least in terms of your finances!

    1. Assess your spending habits. It may be painful, but reviewing what you did spend over the holidays is critical for creating a realistic plan for next December. How much did you spend? How much did you overspend? Are there areas you can improve upon or remove all together?
    2.  Talk to your friends and family. Though it may feel uncomfortable to bring up the subject of reforming your spending ways, you’ll likely find your suggestions are well-received and bring a feeling of relief from all involved. Suggestions may include just buying gifts for the kids, planning a gift exchange that includes a cap on how much participants spend, or perhaps a strict rule of re-gifting only, and the sillier the gift the better. Consider making memories with friends and family rather than incurring debt; volunteer, create a game or movie night, or enjoy the great outdoors together.
    3.  Plan your expenditures. Once you have your short-list of who you buy for, think about what you want to buy and plan those expenditures throughout the year. This is a great way to take advantage of sales and spread the expense over 12 months instead of over 1 month or less. Or if you prefer to buy everything closer to the holidays, divide the amount you plan to spend over 12 months and start saving that amount each month. By the time December rolls around, you’ll be armed with cash.

Simple strategies are always the easiest to translate into good habits. With a little planning and implementation today, you can say goodbye to the financial hangover, and hello to peace of mind next year.