Maybe New Year's Eve got the better of you last night. Maybe you woke up this morning feeling nauseous or with a headache that has kept you in bed all day.
You've got a hangover — and the only surefire way to get rid of it is time and rest (or not drinking in the first place, but it's too late for that now!)
The same can be said for your finances. If you really blew your budget this holiday season, your financial hangover might be just as painful and definitely will take time and planning to fix.
Meanwhile, these tips are steps you can take today that — like a cold compress, dose of aspirin or cup of coffee — may help alleviate immediate pain and make you feel better about the new year ahead.
Not having a budget is probably what got you here in the first place. Keeping track of how much you bring in versus how much you spend is vital to prevent future budget busts.
Some experts recommend looking at three to six months' worth of bills to help form a budget; others say at least a year. If that sounds too dizzying, try keeping things simple. Start by listing your income and fixed expenses — things like rent, car payments, utilities, etc. While this won't give you a total view, it's a good place to start.
Your mother may think that the sweater she bought looks great on you, but maybe it's not really your style. Or perhaps your uncle got you a video game you already had. Instead of letting these unwanted gifts collect dust, consider selling them on the secondhand market.
Social media guru and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is a firm believer in selling unwanted treasures. On his popular vlog "Trash Talk," the firebrand CEO drives around suburban New Jersey hunting for garage sales where he might discover once-prized — or never loved — items. Vaynerchuk told CNBC he is "watching people literally go from being homeless to building up $50,000 to $100,000," in an interview earlier this year.
Sites like Poshmark, Facebook's marketplace, and eBay allow users to buy and sell goods. Spend some time taking flattering pictures of the items you want to sell and begin posting them. Any income generated from sales can be put towards paying down your debt.
Consider a Dry January. When you give your liver time to recover, you'll be giving your wallet a break, too.
It is no secret that dining out with drinks and imbibing at bars and nightclubs can make it harder to save money. With a Dry January, you'll consume no alcoholic beverages for the full 31 days of the month. With your extra savings, you'll be able to pay your bills faster.
Credit and debit cards make transactions seamless, especially when it comes to online shopping. Research has shown that paying with cash, on the other hand, is more painful than paying with plastic.
Researchers point out that there are two important reasons for this. First, there is a delay between buying the goods and paying your bill. If you buy something in the middle of a billing cycle, you won't have to pay it off until the end of that cycle. Second, using a card allows you to lump your purchases together. When it comes time to pay, it is harder to attribute the payment to any one purchase.
Paying with only cash has an added benefit — you can only spend what you carry with you.
While these tips will not fix your overspending habits overnight, they can help you get back on track. Financial wellness is more than a New Year's resolution; it is something that you need to practice daily in order to achieve your goals.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.