Many of us splash the cash over Christmas and the holidays, and that’s fair enough. For most, it’s the only time of year when we’re able to put our feet up and spend uninterrupted time with family and friends. If going over budget helped you and your loved ones relax and enjoy yourselves, especially after the year we’ve all experienced, then it feels like money well spent - as long as you get right back on track once the break is over.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at a few simple steps you can take to recover financially after blowing the budget over the holidays.
Figure out what you spent
The first step towards financial recovery is to know where you stand and how much you spent during the break. The easiest way to do this is to log into your internet banking and take a look at your transactions.
Once you know your total Christmas spending, you can factor it into your budget for future years, so making it easier to budget in future. Just keep that figure in mind and put aside 1/12th of it every month until next year; or if you think you spent too much, set a goal to reduce the amount and try a few of our tips for saving money over Christmas.
Doing this may seem like a hassle but it’s worth it. It’ll save you from financial stress over the holidays and ensure you don’t have to take out expensive short-term debt to afford Christmas in future.
Make some positive changes for 2022
Now that you’ve got an idea of what the damage is, it’s time to take a few quick steps to improve your financial position and your general wellbeing. While everyone has different priorities and attitudes when it comes to money and life, there are a few good ideas that anyone can take advantage of:
Pay off high-interest debt
Many Australians take on high-interest, short-term debt to afford Christmas and the holidays. This is understandable given how much everything costs these days, however, it’s always best to get rid of this debt as quickly as possible.
If you have more than one loan, it may be a good idea to pay off the one with the highest interest rate first before moving on to the next one. Doing this as quickly as possible will help you reduce the amount of interest you pay and improve your future cash flow. That’s a win-win.
Try setting some goals
Goal setting is the key to success. It helps you figure out what you want out of life and then enables you to make a plan to get there. So why not set a few goals to make sure 2022 is your best year yet?
Goals will be completely different for each person depending on their priorities but yours could include:
- Earning more money.
- Working less and spending more time with family.
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle.
- Working on your mental health and relationships.
- Saving and investing more.
Whatever your goal is, the secret is to make it specific. For example, don’t just plan to save more money - aim for a specific amount per month and lay out a plan to make that a reality.
Build a financial buffer and grow your wealth
Whatever your money goals are, it’s a good idea to start growing your wealth as soon as possible. Whether you’re looking to retire comfortably, travel, have kids, or just buy a car - saving and investing regularly will help you make it happen.
To start (or continue) growing your wealth, simply figure out how much you can spare out of your budget to put into savings. Even if it’s just a few dollars a week, every little bit counts.
First, it’s a good idea to build up an emergency fund (an online savings account is a great tool to help make this happen). An emergency fund is 2-3 month’s worth of your salary that acts as a buffer in case you lose your job or incur unexpected costs.
Already sorted that out and looking for the next steps? Start saving for your financial goals - whatever they may be.
2021 was a tough year for many and most of us needed the break more than ever. That’s why, if you overspent on your holiday, try not to feel guilty - instead, take a step back and make a few small changes so that 2022 is your best year yet.
Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
You should read and consider the Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services and our Financial Services Guide available on our website qudosbank.com.au before deciding whether to obtain any of our financial products or services.
Published January 2022