christmasChristmas comes but once a year.  Sadly its financial effects can be felt for a lot longer.  Ideally Christmas should be paid for out of a budget you can afford.  This could be through savings you make throughout the year.  In reality however it is very easy to overspend at Christmas.  If the children have set their heart on something…  If there is a great company night out that is just a bit more than you wanted to pay…  If you need to travel and miss the more affordable fares…  The reality is that after Christmas you may well need to make it a priority to pay off debt.  Here are some options for you.
Use Christmas to Pay Off Christmas
In other words, sell your unwanted gifts.  While you are about it, see if you have other stuff you could clear out for cash as well.  The obvious place to clear out stuff is eBay.  It may, however, be worth thinking about whether this is the best option for you.  You may be able to list your item for free, but you can expect to pay fees if the item sells.  You are also going to have to be realistic about postage costs and the practicalities of posting items.  There is also the possibility of dishonest buyers abusing eBays protection schemes.  With that in mind it may be worth looking into alternatives such as Gumtree, Craigslist or local selling sites.  You could even try a car-boot or just spread the word and see what happens.
Give up Small Temptations (at Least for a While)
Small expenses can add up.  The cup of coffee bought on the way to work…  The shop-bought sandwiches instead of a packed lunch…  The takeaway when you are too tired to shop for food…  Cutting down on these little expenses can go a long way to boosting your finances.  Likewise resist the New Years sales.  They might have some genuine bargains, but there are deals all year round for savvy shoppers.
You Can Lose Weight Without Joining a Gym
Yes Christmas is a time when pounds can easily move from the wallet to the waistline.  Yes you may need to lose some weight.  No, you do not have to join a gym to do it.  In fact now may be the time to ditch the gym membership you never use.  It might also be a good time to review your other regular bills and see if you are still getting value for money from them.  For example, if your mobile contract is up and you are happy with your handset, then now could be the time to switch to SIM-only or PAYG (Pay As You Go).  If you are a smoker, then giving up is a win for your wallet and your health.
Get Savvy with Your Shopping
Before you reach for a well-known brand, take the time to look at the budget alternatives.  Sometimes there will be a difference in quality.  You may feel it is worth paying the extra for the premium brand.  Other times, however, you may be surprised to discover how little difference there is.  You may even find you prefer the budget brand.
Switch Nights Out to Nights In
Nights out can be great fun, but they can also be very expensive.  There is the headline cost of whatever you want to do.  Then there are the extras which can sneak in.  January may be the perfect time to give yourself a little social down time.  Of course, you can still keep up with your friends, just socialize in a budget-friendly way.  You may well find that your friends are in the same situation as you.  They may be more than happy to have a chance to keep their own costs down.