The holidays are over and with it we expect to feel some relief that the hustle and bustle and inevitable spending has slowed. However, instead of feeling relief, what we often feel is stress; stress that goes from who to buy what for, to how to pay for who we bought what for! Overspending during the holidays is not an uncommon phenomenon nor is feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed when the bills come in. It can feel pretty out of control. To help alleviate some of the financial strain after the holidays (or any time), we’ve compiled six of our favourite tips:
- Have a spending plan (i.e. a budget). Consider adding a category to your budget called “Holiday Spending.” Start putting $5, $10, $25 a month into that category and voilà! – you can do the math on how much you will have by December. It also feels pretty good to not have to pay interest on your credit cards.
- Create a Rainy Day Fund. The same principle applies as above: start putting away a little bit each month so you are better able to bounce back from the difficult times (i.e., illness, job loss, car repair, etc.). Money in reserves gives you time and energy to get through tough times.
- Set up automatic payments for your monthly bills (rent, utilities, etc.) and your savings. This way you pay your bills on time and never forget to save. This is a great way to (re)build your credit rating – and you have the security of knowing your essentials are covered.
- Open a RESP. Worried about how to pay for post-secondary education for your children? Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and receive free money from the government. You do not need to put a penny in and your child could get up to $10,000 in government grants. What a wonderful gift to your children and peace of mind for you
- Give the gift of time and save money while building relationships. Make meals together, take walks, share stories. Write someone a letter. Give the gift of your time.
- Empower yourself. They say knowledge is power and what better way to empower yourself than learning more about money and finances. Consider taking a course on money management (free through Momentum). Momentum can also help with opening an RESP (also free!).
We hope you feel inspired to try some of the above strategies so when next January rolls around, you won’t be feeling the same financial strain you felt this January. The results don’t always happen overnight, but when they do, you will feel more in control of your money, less stressed, and more in control of your life .