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Has all that festive indulgence left you with a hangover? We don't just mean the traditional kind, either. Many people will be starting January with a hangover of the financial variety, brought on by overspending and over-reliance on credit cards and overdrafts, so if you're feeling the effects, it's time to take control.
Research from Experian has revealed that suffering from a financial hangover is becoming a widespread phenomenon, with 35% of those surveyed facing such an issue from overspending during Christmas – to the average tune of £207.
That's not the only thing that could lead to a frugal January, either. Many people (around 80%, in fact) were paid early in December, which means they could find stretching their money until the end of the month an even bigger struggle. The research found that 53% of those who were paid earlier would find it difficult to meet their bills by mid-January, and 49% would dip into their savings to cover the shortfall – but 36% will turn to credit.
The final statistic is particularly worrying given that many people will have already racked up a hefty credit card bill over the festive period, so the last thing you want to do is add to it. Try to avoid using credit at this time of year, but if you must, make sure it isn't accruing any additional interest – ideally, use credit cards that charge 0% interest on purchases for a set period of time, as that way you'll be able to spread the cost of your January purchases without paying for it with sky-high interest.
Alternatively, if your credit card statement is already anxiety-inducing, consider transferring the amount to a 0% balance transfer credit card. These can be a financial saviour, as you can find cards that offer introductory terms of up to 35 months – giving you plenty of time to pay off the balance. Just make sure you don't spend on these cards and cut up the original, otherwise you'll be right back where you started.
The key to recovering from your financial hangover – and to ensure it doesn't last well into February and beyond – is to stay in control. Be ruthless with your budget and get rid of absolutely all unnecessary expenditures, and above all, don't continue your bad habits. Stop overspending, try to step away from the credit card and pay attention to where every penny goes, and hopefully you'll be cured in no time.
Julie Doleman, of Experian Consumer, concluded: "Over-spending at Christmas can happen easily, with unexpected costs building up quickly. For those facing January with a financial festive hangover, it's important to understand how your spending decisions over the coming weeks might affect you in the longer term.
"Starting off on the right foot now will help you get the most out of your New Year right from the beginning, allowing you to make progress towards achieving your goal – whether that's saving for a big purchase or life event, or simply getting your finances under control."
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