The holidays are over and the memories are made, but you may be feeling frustrated as you manage money stress from holiday bills. The average American spent $986 last year alone as they decked their halls last holiday season. No matter what your holiday spending was, you may be feeling a little frazzled when you think about your bills.
The Best Way To Manage Money Stress From Holiday Bills
Your mental attitude makes a big difference in how you attack your debt. Though it may feel like you are swimming, remember that you do have the power to make a difference in your finances. Also, keep in focus the memories you created over the holiday season are the reason why you may be now shifting your finances around, and those moments are important. Find ways to de-stress such as exercise or taking quiet time to yourself. Focus on smaller daily or weekly goals if you are becoming overwhelmed, and you can drastically lower your money stress from holiday bills.
Budget With Envelopes
This is a word I love to hate thinking about, but a budget saves my skin when I have over spent. If you did not budget before the holidays, you need to now more than ever. If you find budgeting tricky, I highly recommend using a cash envelope system as a quick way to jumpstart your budget. My husband and I have used this system when we were at our tightest financially, and it makes it very easy to keep any extra spending in check. A cash envelope system is a perfect way to limit yourself to just the essential spending and keep you in control, and less stressed.
Pay Off Store Credit Cards First If You Can
According to Forbes Magazine if you put $1000 of holiday gifts on store credit cards and pay only the minimum payment you could end up paying double for the items you bought. Most store credit cards though they offer great sales promotions have very high interest rates. If you put the same $1000 bill on a regular bank credit card and only paid the minimum, likely you will pay around $350 in interest. If you racked up multiple kinds of debt this season, attack these store credit cards first and your finances will be better in the long run.
Enjoy Cooking At Home
One of the easiest places to temporarily shave money out of your monthly budget is in your grocery and eating out budget, and the extra money you save can go straight into those holiday bills. Try making homemade soups or crockpot meals that tend to be a low cost per meal, and also freeze well in individual portions for quick lunches. You can also check out our Cheap Healthy Meals For Large Families for more ideas.
Use The Entertainment You Have
After the holidays have ended, you may find yourself saying feeling a bit blue. Now is the time to look for cheap entertainment and to use those great gifts from the holidays. Explore all those great shows on Netflix , for very little cash, and spend time with those new holiday gifts. Look for free events in town near you, or simply implement family game night. Check out the library as a wealth of entertainment. After the holidays is a great time to shave your entertainment budget.
All of these ideas will help you to take control of any holiday debt you may have. When we feel in control, our overall stress level can lower and we can make more levelheaded decisions. Now if I could have just told myself that when I was the crazy lady in the store with a holiday ham clutched in my hand!
How do you manage money stress from holiday bills? Tell me in the comments!
Image Credit: Rocky Lubbers