So the presents have been opened, leftovers are in the fridge. You may be suffering from the post-Christmas blues. Here are a list of quick tips to get organized or get a handle on those Christmas bills. Feel free to post your tips in the comments section.
- Index – As you pack your decorations, write a list of the box contents on a notecard and tape it to the box. You can also pack according to room or time of season you will be decorating.
- Toss – Get rid of anything that’s broken, that you haven’t used in years, or that you just don’t have use for anymore.
- Ornaments – Shred that used wrapping paper and use it to cushion your ornaments. For those extra fragile ones, put one in a ziploc bag, seal most of the way, then blow the bag up and finish sealing – the bag creates a bubble barrier and prevents breaking.
- Christmas lights – Cut a piece of cardboard into an I shape about a foot long and wrap the lights around the middle. The I shape prevents your lights from sliding off. You can also tape extra light bulbs to the cardboard.
PAYING OFF CHRISTMAS DEBT
- Accept It – Often times we overspend at Christmas and it becomes a big stress burden. You need to add up all your debt, accept that you overspent then make a plan for payoff.
- Focus – Make paying off your debt a priority. Instead of buying more at those after-Christmas sales, put the money toward paying off your credit cards. Remember – you don’t need 99% of that stuff!
- Figure it Out – Take time to calculate how long it will take you to pay off your debt and what your monthly payments will be. You should try to put as much toward your debt as possible.
- Eliminate unneeded expenses – Limit your Starbucks intake, movie rental, and eating out. Put the money you save toward paying off your debt. It may be a sacrifice, but it will allow you to get the stress of debt over quicker.
PLANNING FOR NEXT YEAR
- Christmas Cards – Update your address book from the cards you received this year, or others you will want to add to next year’s list.
- Stock up for next year – Buy wrapping paper, cards, decorations, etc. on clearance and store it for next year. Some stores have Christmas items up to 70% off. Also, storage containers also tend to go on sale right after the holidays.
- Plan ahead – Make a draft list of people you always buy for and split up the shopping throughout the year. Mark in your planner the people you can buy for each month. It will definitely help out your budget and stress level at Christmastime next year. If you use a planner then put key dates for Christmas goals (ex. Sept. 1 – Complete gift list, Oct. 1 – Begin addressing cards, Nov. 30 – Complete shopping)
- Budget – Establish a budget for next Christmas. Make sure you include gifts, cards, shipping and postage, gift wrap, food, and holiday clothing. Set up a savings account and arrange for monthly direct deposit.