Did you spend more during the holidays? Here’s how to achieve a ‘no expense’ January

Family passing Christmas presents

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It is a good way to deal with any persistent debt.


Key points

  • Many people accumulate debt in the course of their Christmas shopping.
  • Cutting your spending to the extreme in January could help you get out of that hole more quickly.
  • Plan your entertainment ahead of time, recruit your friends, and be sure to receive a reward in February.

The holiday season isn’t over yet, but at this point, many people are already looking at giant credit card balances as a result of your recent spending. So if you’re closing out the holidays of 2022 with a bunch of debt to tackle in 2023, you’ll be in good company.

But you may not be exactly excited to start the new year with debt. And who could blame you? Debt can not only be expensive (especially these days with rising interest rates), but it can also be stressful. And it can also affect your mental health.

That’s why you should get rid of holiday debt as fast as possible. And a zero-spend January could be a great way to make that happen.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a free weekend, week, or month, it basically means that, during a set period of time, you only spend money on essential bills, like rent or mortgage payment, car payment, medicines and groceries. You don’t spend money on extras like non-work clothes, store-bought coffee, takeout, and concert tickets.

Achieving a month without expenses is not an easy thing to do. But it can be a very effective way of dealing with debt. So if you’re willing to give it a try in January, here are some tips for success.

1. Schedule free entertainment ahead of time

Sticking to your no spending rule can be tricky if you get bored after work and on the weekends. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare some entertainment in advance. That might mean carrying books from the library so you have plenty of reading material. It could also mean pulling out your old DVD player, plugging it in, and watching classic movies you’ve borrowed from your friends’ collections.

2. Get your friends involved

It’s harder to stick to a no-spend policy when you’ve got friends taking you out for dinner or a movie left and right. If you want to keep your month spending-free, ask your friends to join you in cutting all non-essential spending. If you cut back together, you may find it less painful. Plus, that way, your friends won’t give you strange looks if you suggest a walk on a Saturday afternoon when you’d normally spend those hours blowing up a credit card bill at the mall.

3. Reward yourself with something special in February

Achieving a month without expenses is a real challenge. So make it count by promising yourself a fun gift in February if you’re successful. That could include dinner at your favorite restaurant or the new pair of boots you’ve been looking for for weeks.

Closing out the holiday season with debt is quite common, but it can also be quite annoying. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, a zero-spend January could really help you reduce that debt fast. And who knows? After all, you may find that cutting back on non-essential spending isn’t that hard. You may even decide to try another free month later in the year to help you work toward a big financial goal.

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