La Cuesta de Enero – what exactly is it? The true meaning behind this expression lies in the word cuesta, which translated from Spanish means an uphill slope. Therefore as its name indicates, La Cuesta de Enero means the January slope or the January climb. For those who don’t know, Mexico and Spain typically use this phrase to describe the aftermath of being broke in January after celebrating and spending a little too much over the holidays.

In other words, when you hear someone say, “estoy en la cuesta de Enero,” they’re simply expressing that they’re trying to cope with the financial struggles of surviving through January on a strained budget.

Even beyond holiday spending however, La Cuesta de Enero feels that much harsher because of normal financial obligations like tax season, back-to-school spending, costly New Year’s resolutions and so on. La Cuesta de Enero is worrisome for lots of families because it piles onto an already high cost of living.

What can be done to avoid the famous “January Slope?”

Surviving the January slope starts with organizing your expenses in December. Beyond doing the usual things to control spending, being thoughtful and practical about which gifts to buy can actually prevent you from spending too much money before the New Year. There’s a reason why they say it’s the thought that counts. It’s because sentimental value is far more precious than financial value when it comes to gift-giving.

Instead of basing your purchases on random imagination of what you would like a gift-recipient to have, base it on your knowledge and understanding of their character. Use your observations of what they’re passionate about to decide on what the perfect gift would be. This might sound improbable, but it actually has the unexpected effect of pinpointing the perfect gift that doesn’t need extravagant spending. For example, someone who likes gardening would probably appreciate a natural plant as a gift much more than they would a mobile device. Or someone who likes music will probably enjoy dinner and show more than lavish jewelry. There are so many gifts that don’t have a great cost, but still have the desired impact of showing that you care. Just use a little imagination and ask the question: “What does a: ______ like?”

The January slope isn’t something to dread when you realize that it’s just a part of life. Not only can you survive it, you can actually avoid it by making wise choices before it happens. Whatever the case, take heart because you are destined to do great things not only in January, but in every month of 2018.

Happy Holidays to you, your family and friends. Our team at RISE Programs wishes you a Happy New Year as well, and an easy Cuesta de Enero!