When you look at your bank and credit card statements in January, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
All that gift giving and merrymaking during this holiday season will likely leave you strapped for cash in the New Year. Make your New Year’s resolution to financially survive the first month of 2013 by implementing these strategies:
Save Cash Gifts and Christmas Bonuses
It may be tempting to live it up when you receive cash and year-end bonuses from relatives and employers, but you’ll want that money when the rent/mortgage payments and utility bills are due next month. Set them aside in a savings account so you’ll have them come January.
Turn Down The Heat
Utility bills eat up a big portion of your winter budget. Starting today, turn the thermostat back a few degrees and bundle up with an extra jumper or oversized blanket instead. Make sure your windows and doors are sealed and invest in a cheap rug to help keep the house toasty. Another way to save on utilities is to power down lights and appliances when they’re not in use.
Use, Sell, or Trade-In Gift Cards
Gift cards can be a budget godsend if you use them for the things you actually need. New clothes or electronics might not help reign in your spending, so consider selling or trading them in for something you actually do need, like groceries or household supplies. Looking ahead, you may be able to sell MacBook Pros or other tech gadgets once spring fever hits consumers again.
Cut back on the entertainment
This is a tip you can start implementing now, then put into full swing after the holidays. Meet your friends and family for lunch instead of dinner (it’s cheaper!) and invite them ‘round for drinks instead of going out. When the New Year arrives, make a plan to pack your lunches and attend only free or discounted events in your city, at least until your finances recover.