Were you naughty or nice during December? For some of us, that depends entirely on our credit card bill or the balance of our checking account come January 1st. The holidays are not simply a time of too much food, but also of too much spending. Never fear; here are three tips, tricks, and suggestions to cut down on the December gut.
- Figure Out How Much You Spent
Did you have a budget all year and throw it out the window immediately after Thanksgiving? That’s alright, many of us get spending fever in December, as long as you are willing to dust off that budget once the fever breaks. Get your receipts ready, or print your card statements from your online bank or credit card account, and find out if you overspent. If you did, make a plan to reduce the damage. Think about cutting back on spending over the next few months (not just one month) to offset the December glut, or use a debt management strategy such as the Snowball Effect to get back in shape.
- Return, Reuse, Re-evaluate
In the heat of the shopping moment, we sometimes make unnecessary impulse buys. That’s how I ended up with about 12 scarves. Check the tags, check the receipts, and return what you determine you don’t really want/need/like now that you’ve slept on it. This is also a perfect time to dive into your storage unit or closet and find old treasures you had forgotten about. If you find an item in your possession of the same nature as one you purchased recently, seriously consider returning the new one. Reuse all your current possessions, they work just as well as the new stuff!
I’m a bit of a minimalist, and I say a bit because I have 12 scarves. Now that you have a good idea of what you own and have returned new items you didn’t need in exchange for your money back, think hard about the items you have kept. Do you really need a dozen pairs of flip-flops? Could you do with one less black winter coat? Should you really buy a new pair of jeans when there are 20 of them in your closet? Trim away the fat, get rid of items you do not use and maximize your favorites.
- Set Clear Goals
It is easy to say that we are going to do something, but it is a lot more likely to happen if we schedule it in! Figure out what you want to do, set clear goals, and give yourself a deadline to do it by! Stick to your first deadline, and you’ll be riding a productivity high so good, you’ll meet an overwhelming majority of your goals! Here is an example of one of my goals for my December life cleanse:
- Gather all my scarves into the same place by end of day 12/28.
- Re-evaluate what I want to keep. Reduce my ownership of scarves to 6, within 24 hours.
- Take all the scarves I do not need/want/like to a homeless shelter this weekend.