smart spending

Recover from a holiday spending hangover

Post-holiday debt blues
Post-holiday debt blues

If the holiday season left you with a pages-long credit card bill, you're probably feeling debt's bite. But there's no need to abstain from fun altogether.

If December's plastic charges have turned into lengthy paper bills, put away the credit cards and turn to cash, suggests Jen Dotson, who blogs at "Thrifty Northwest Mom," a site focused on frugal deals.

In January, write down your projected expenses in a notebook or in a categorized spreadsheet and set aside cash for each category. "We have been using a cash system for the last year and it has helped us to become debt-free," Dotson says.

And while you're paying down post-holiday debt, try these seven ways to spend smarter. You'll reduce expenses without denying yourself or racking up new account balances.

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Are your account balances as drained as you feel after a crazy New Year's Eve Party? Here are a few ways to bounce back from your holiday spending hangover.

Instead of an expensive family vacation this year, try a simple staycation. Visit your local tourism Bureau where you can often find discounts on local entertainment, hotels and events. And instead of taking the family to the movies and dropping $15 on popcorn, try fun and free family activities. Taking a bike ride around the neighborhood not only gets the family exercising, but it will improve the kids' sense of direction.

Just because you're putting a stop to excessive shopping doesn't mean you need to put a stop to family gatherings. Just invite fewer people and keep it casual. Think burgers and chili in the backyard, not steaks on the white linen tablecloths. Brunch or lunch tends to be less expensive, but if you like dinner, stick with one-dish dinners, like lasagna and enchiladas. No side dishes necessary.

 

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