A day after many of us have unwrapped gifts and eaten too much, we may feel guilt for some of our excesses. There are ways to avoid the post-holiday guilt that people feel after the winter holidays. For some, it won’t hit until after New Years Day or some time early next year when bills arrive.
If you haven’t followed the financial planning advice you have heard this holiday season, you can still start the near year on stable footing.
Return and donate. Sometimes just looking at objects we don’t find useful or comforting can make us feel unhappy…and whether we call it retail therapy or not, some us spend more when we’re unhappy. If you have gifts you really don’t want and the gift-giver has provided you with a receipt, consider returning them for something you can use.
You can also donate gifts that you don’t want if you are sure that it won’t cause any hard feelings between you and the gift-giver.
Start paying off debt. You don’t have to wait until all of your holiday bills roll in to start to pay off debt. If you used a credit card to pay for a lot of your gifts, you can start to put a little towards paying that debt off now, even if it is just a small amount. It will make a difference in the amount of interest you will pay on the long run. You cannot undo the credit card charges but you can start to work on your financial future. There will also be a psychological payoff because you will feel much better knowing that you are taking action to reduce debt.
Work on your resolve. We are not suggesting that you resolve to only buy necessities. Nor are we saying that you need a list of resolutions that include promises that you may not be able to keep. What will help is working on your resolve each day. Financial planning does include having overarching goals and a plan to reach those goals but some of us need to take it one day at a time.