Okay, I’ll fess up first. I’m one of the millions of Americans that fails to save for the holidays. Yes, I’m aware there are holiday savings accounts and regular savings accounts and shoe boxes and all sorts of other neat tricks to help you save for the festive time of the year, but what can I say?
I’m a slacker.
I’m too worried about my monthly obligations to fool with saving for holiday shopping. That’s why I always seem to find myself scrambling for the funds to buy my gifts at the very last minute. You’d think I’d learn my lesson after years of repeating the same pattern, but no – I just keep running in that hamster wheel as fast as I can.
I’ve never had an issue with finding the funds to use for my holiday shopping expeditions; I usually have a little bit of cash socked away in savings. Without fail, I drain that bad boy and do what I must to procure presents to place under my tree. The problem for me is the aftermath. Those dreadful few weeks at the beginning of every new year when I lament my financial bad behavior and nurse one heck of a financial holiday hangover. Here’s what I plan to do this year to soften the blow.
January: Damage Control Time
Instead of feeling sorry for myself this year, I’m dedicating January to some serious financial soul-searching. I’m planning to take on extra work in order to rapidly rebuild my savings. This is a major deviation from my normal routine, so it’s effectively like pretending that money never went anywhere in the first place.
I’m also returning to my long-abandoned habit of financial tracking. I used Mint.com for quite some time back in the day, and I liked it well enough. However, this time around, I’m considering trying out Personal Capital. I wrote a review of the service here at Everything Finance awhile back, and I signed up for an account in order to write the article. The main selling point for me? I loved that it included tracking support for Lending Club – an investment I’m working on building up in 2013.
Although I can’t make any promises that I’ll remain consistent the whole year through, this is definitely a step in the right direction. I’ve never begun a year fresh with financial tracking software. Maybe if it becomes a habit, I’ll have more wiggle room (or – gasp – even money set aside) for next year’s round of harried last-minute gift-buying.
The biggest reason I suffer such a gnarly holiday hangover each year, I think, is simply because my finances are so scattered. Perhaps a little restructuring will do me good this year. If I can see what I’m working with financially, and it’s all in one place, then I’ll be more apt to spend my money wisely. Here’s to hoping.
Do you deal with a financial holiday hangover of your own each year? Leave your tips and tricks for staving off the post-holiday blues in the comments below!