Sunny bank holidays are always something of a spending challenge, but post-lockdown bank holidays? A whole other ball game. Twitter is awash with exclamations of how expensive ‘outside’ is, following months of having most of our social lives and spending limited to online activity only – and they are not wrong. For those of us no longer used to having to make those kinds of decisions or set those kinds of boundaries, we could quite easily see our savings slip away, or that credit card balance start to creep up, just from taking advantage of the dual joys of freedom and summer at last.
If you’ve had a bit of a bank holiday spending spree, don’t worry – you’re far from alone, and it doesn’t have to be catastrophic. Here are a few ways that you can get back on track as quickly and easily as possible.
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Take stock as soon as you can
As tempting as it is to stop checking your balance and avoid looking at your credit card statements after a weekend of overspending, you won’t thank yourself for it in the long run. The longer you leave it, the more daunting it can feel to see the full impact on your finances, and the more anxious you’ll get. At best, this will stress you out, and at worst, it could lead to forgetting to make a payment or not having enough in your account to cover a bill, so it’s best to check now- even if you do look through your fingers. It might not be as bad as you thought, but even if it is, you’ve now bought yourself some time to get things sorted.
Don’t beat yourself up
When we overspend on clothes or have a late night ill-advised online spree, it’s usually possible to send things back, but if your money has been spent on eating, drinking and socialising, that’s not usually possible, and you just have to live with what you’ve spent. This makes it all the more important not to beat yourself up too much for overspending, because there’s nothing you can do to change it and staying angry with yourself or becoming bogged down in spending shame will only make you feel less confident and damage your relationship with money in the longer term. It’s not worth it.
Bear in mind that you’re really not alone in waking up with a spending hangover after your bank holiday fun, and give yourself a bit of a break. We’ve been in a pandemic, after all.
I work in retail on £26k and have always struggled to save – how can I put money aside and still afford to have a social life this summer?
Being proactive is key here, so take the time to look at what’s left in your account and make some changes to your budget if needed. If you need to delay that treat you were hoping to buy, or cut something out next month to top your savings back up, or make space for a bigger credit card bill, now is the time to do it. Give yourself time to make the necessary changes, and you won’t end up feeling short-changed or panicked later on.
If your bank holiday spending is going to leave you strapped for cash, it’s a great time to look at some of those ways of making extra cash that I wrote about a few weeks ago. With the change in weather, there’s no better time to sort through your wardrobe anyway, and if there’s anything that’s not really ‘you’ any more, you can pop it on eBay or Depop and make a bit of cash back. There are also survey sites for any spare minutes on your commute, and you could look at building a real side hustle to give you a bit more cash going forward, if you have an idea and some extra time.
Really quick and easy ways to boost your income from home (from doing online surveys to selling on eBay)
Start planning for the next one now!
August bank holiday will come round quickly, so why not set up a bank holiday fun fund right now? As soon as you’re back on your feet after the weekend, you could start putting away a fiver or tenner every week so that you can spend guilt-free next time the beer garden is calling – and if it’s a washout, that’s extra money saved for something else you want – it’s win-win!
Realising you’re a bit short of cash after overspending can be stressful, but it’s important to keep it in perspective. We all spend a bit more than we mean to sometimes – it’s part of life – and there’s no need for the effects to haunt you forever as long as you take action.
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