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| Education and Financial

01/07/15

Saving first: Post holiday budgeting paramount for financial prosperity this year

Let's face it, you probably overspent this holiday season.
Naturally, you feel bad that you went a little overboard, particularly after you count up those receipts and the first few credit card bills start arriving in January.
Perhaps you didn't need to spring for such a lavish gift for your third cousin or send an equally expensive present to your uncle in Florida. Maybe, you just decided that your kids needed not just one of the hot toys of the holidays but all of them.
Whatever the case may be, you're stuck with the leftovers (no, not the good kind like cakes and cookies) but rather in the form of money owed to credit card companies now that the mistletoe has been removed and the only thing you're kissing is your financial future goodbye.
That is, of course, if you don't have a plan, post holiday, for cleaning up that debt with some regularity and consistency.

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Part of your endeavor to rid yourself of unwanted debt should consist of reviewing your budget as it stood before the holidays destroyed what semblance of normalcy your money habits had. You should always review your budget any time you add a new expense or a change in your income occurs, but particularly around the holidays and thereafter, you really should assess your new payment amounts on credit cards or any new debt you've assumed and now have to account for as far as a monthly charge.
Once you get a look at your outgoing expenses, you can see what money you have remaining once all the bills are paid (and don't forget about those incidental expenses, either) and start allocating it to that increase in credit card debt thanks to the holiday spending.
You want to focus on credit card debt that has the highest interest rate first and devote as much extra cash as you can on those accounts. If extra cash isn't exactly an option, you might want to consider developing a game plan to earn money above and beyond your 9 to 5 job. Granted, getting a second job might not be high on your list of things to do, so maybe just get creative with how you go about it.
Maybe you can start selling a few of last year's holiday toys on eBay or tap into a talent that might allow you to work from home or on your own terms (think anything from writing to photography or even baby sitting).
Starting off this year with loads of debt is something plenty of people who get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays do, but that doesn't mean your December shortcomings have to define your entire year.

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