By, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt
Happy New Year!
The holidays can be such a joyous time of year, but so much time and effort to plan and prepare, and then… just like that, it’s over. The meal leaves you full and exhausted. The holiday bills can leave you feeling much the same. Without even looking at your bills, you already know you ignored that “budget.” Now what?
First, do not be so hard on yourself. Put those feelings of, “What did I do” into action. Here are three immediate steps.
1. Stop the unnecessary spending. Aside from the essentials like utilities, mortgage, groceries, etc., avoid tempting post-holiday sales. You want to recover from your spending and not allow more debt to accumulate.
Consider using cash only, rather than credit cards, to stop debt from accumulating. People tend to have a tighter grip on their cash than on their plastic.
That gym membership you stopped using eight months ago? Cancel it.
2. Increase your income. You do not have to get another job, but instead, look for ways to bring in additional dollars. Are there clothes that you could sell? What’s in your garage that is collecting dust, can you sell it? Did you get a bonus at work that you could apply to your debt? That gym membership that you canceled put that money directly towards your debt.
3. Set goals for the coming year. Forgive yourself for this year’s spending mistakes and move forward. Research budget ideas that will work for you. Don’t make the resolutions you know you won’t keep, but rather find some steps that you’ll more likely stick with and find success.
For example, one method is to make a weekly deposit for 52 weeks. Week one, you deposit $1, week two, you deposit $2, and at the end of the year, you’ll have $1,378!
Do not look back at 2019 with dismay; anticipate 2020 as the year you get your budget back under control. To those of you who stayed on track Congratulations, your 2020 is off to a great start!