Our house looks like a toy store blew up in it. I’d share a photo, but honestly, I’m a little embarrassed by the consumerism on display in my house.
For the record, it wasn’t all our doing. The boys were properly spoiled by grandparents and great-grandparents, alike.
We paid cash for our holiday spending, but I can’t help but think of the many people who don’t. I’ve had those shopping moments. Hours, days, weeks, months after a purchase, I would feel sick thinking about how foolish of me it was to spend money on things I couldn’t afford. How foolish to pay interest on things I didn’t need!
So I know it is possible to recover from a holiday shopping hangover. But you have to start immediately.
Stop the bleeding. That’s right, no more extraneous spending. So you got a $25 gift card for Christmas. That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy an $80 item. Stop spending on everything except the absolute necessities.
Assess the damage. This is often one of the most painful things to do after a spending spree. Make a detailed list of all the debt you’ve accumulated. Start tracking where every penny you spend goes.
Make a plan. Set up a budget so you know exactly where your money goes.
Find some money. You can free up some money or you could find a way to make some extra money. Start using some of this found money to pay down your debt. Even if you pay just an extra $20 a month, it’s better than doing nothing.
Forgive yourself. We all have our moments when our judgment isn’t always the best. Forgive yourself, and learn from your mistakes.
Get pumped about being debt free! Read Northern Cheapskate and many of the great personal finance blogs I read. Listen (or watch) Dave Ramsey. Head to your library and check out some books by Mary Hunt.
Accept responsibility. This is your life. You’re not in debt because of the economy or the stock market or the price of oil. You’re in debt because of choices you made. Choose to live a different life.