It's official - the holidays are upon us. We've got a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks - holiday parties, eggnog, gifts giving, great food, holiday cookies, Christmas trees… the list goes on.
The holidays are a season of generosity. Americans spent $656 billion on holiday shopping in 2016. (The next biggest shopping season is Back to School, which "only" roped in $84 billion.)
The downside of all that holiday generosity is the dreaded January spending hangover.
Below are 4 easy steps to avoid the post-holiday spending hangover and still enjoy giving your loved ones really cool stuff.
- Create a spending goal - Humans are wired to enjoy achieving goals. By setting a spending goal, you trick your subconscious into enjoying not going overboard.
- Save then spend - Your spending goal should be whatever you've saved up for the holidays. Haven't saved anything? Then "splurge less" in equal amounts to your holiday spending. If you normally eat out 6 times a month, then eat out 3 times in December instead.
- Track your spending - The simple act of "witnessing" your spending has a self-regulating effect. And it's really easy to track your spending these days - use www.financialzengroup.com or www.mint.com or www.youneedabudget.com or any of the other spending tools out there.
- Reward yourself - To reinforce your goal, decide ahead of time how you'll reward yourself for achieving it. Treat yourself to a massage or a nice dinner out or whatever else slides your sleigh.
Don't let your January credit card bill kill your holiday afterglow. By thinking ahead and using a little financial technology, you can enjoy all the fun stuff that December brings without having to pay for it in January. (See what I did there? Ho! Ho! Ho!)