With places to go, gifts to give, and big meals to cook, the holiday season is a pricey time of year. So if you find your loved ones are happy, but your wallet isn’t this season do not panic. Thanks to these five tips by Alexa von Tobel, certified financial advisor and CEO of LearnVest, you’ll have your finances back on track in no time.
1. Put your credit card on ice, literally.
If you’ve spent way more than you can afford on your credit card, there’s one way to stop using it. Freeze it. “Put your credit card in a bucket of water and put it in your freezer,” von Tobel says. Don’t worry, it will still work when it thaws.
2. Go on a cash diet.
Lay off the swiping. von Tobel suggests ditching the cards and kicking it old school by going cash only. “It actually just resets your brain,” she says. “Breaking your hard cash is a lot harder.”
3. Start at rock bottom again.
If you want to double the amount in your bank account, start fresh with a new one. von Tobel says when your numbers are back at zero you’ll be more inspired to watch them grow. “Think about it like when you buy new sneakers, you’re more motivated to work out,” von Tobel says.
4. Get acquainted with Benjamin Franklin and Ulysses S. Grant.
Seriously! Say goodbye to your $1 and $5 bills and opt to carry the big bucks. “You are much more likely to part with a five than you are with a 50,” von Tobel says. “So use bigger bills, 20s, 50s, even a $100 dollar bill. You won’t want to spend it. There is something psychological when the bill is bigger."
5. Put your bonus toward your goal.
Whether you want to pay off credit card debt or start a retirement fund, take that extra money and put it toward your goal instead of that Céline tote you’ve been eyeing all year. von Tobel says, “90 to 95 percent of your bonus should go toward financial goals in saving as opposed to anything on spending.”