Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean it should be your single biggest day of spending. It’s easy to get caught up in the sales and the spectacle of the day, but now that the weekend is over, it’s important to assess the damage. Take a look at your credit card activity (or however you track your spending). Don’t like what you see? There are a few things you might be able to do about it.
Return What You Don’t Need
If in addition to accomplishing a lot of your necessary holiday shopping you bought a few things you can do without, you may want to get your money back. Evaluate your purchases and whether they fit into your budget, and if they don’t, look at the retailer’s return policy. You might be able to get a full refund, but don’t procrastinate, in case there’s only a small window of time for that refund.
You might only be able to exchange some items or have to pay for return shipping, so evaluate each purchase and the return policy carefully when using this strategy to balance your budget.
Go on a Spending Freeze
Another way to counteract a shopping spree is to subsequently pull back on your spending. Perhaps over the next week, you can tighten up your budget more than usual, to make sure you have enough money to pay the big credit card bills you may be expecting.
It can be tough to rein in your holiday spending, but if you set a budget and pay close attention to where your money goes, you’re more likely to make smarter spending decisions.
Find Extra Cash
If you are able to take on a holiday side job, see if you can find retailers still looking for holiday help. This is also a good time of year to sell your gently used items you no longer need on sites like Craigslist or eBay, where some consumers look to buy inexpensive gifts or goods for the holidays.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is make a budget for the rest of the holidays, so you don’t continue to overspend and end up in credit card debt. If this last spending bonanza already put you in the red, don’t procrastinate making a plan to pay your charges off. You can use this free credit card payoff calculator to see how long it will take and how much money you can save on interest if you can pay it off faster. Running up a high credit card balance could hurt your credit score, so you will want to tackle that as soon as possible. You can see how your credit card spending and other things affect your credit by getting your free credit scores every 30 days on Credit.com.
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