Money Talks


Money Talks: Holiday Debt

We’ve gathered together some tips from various articles to discuss Holiday Spending today. 

Listen to our experts from New Perspectives thoughts on these tips:

Stick to your budget:   

  •  Plan how much you’ll spend on gifts, food, drink, and decorations
  • Allocate a dollar amount of what you want to spent and who you will shop for. Tally up what you’ve already spent so far if you shop through the year and be aware of what you already bought and what you’ve already spent.
  •  Make a list of who you need to buy for and what you want to buy. If you’re not sure who will be attending the family dinner, call and ask the hosts or look back at last year’s pictures. Knowing who to buy for will help you avoid buying “stuff” just in case you missed someone.
  • Holiday debt can linger for months, straining your household budget and even limiting your ability to save for retirement and other goals
  • While planning this year's holidays, start thinking about how you'll save money next year.

How to pay for your gifts:

  • Use Cash: it can help you control and understand your spending limits.
  • If you want to use a credit card use only one credit card. If you have several, choose the credit card with the lowest interest rate and leave all the others at home. Using only one card also makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve spent. Once you’ve bought for someone, cross them off your list so that you don’t keep buying.
  • Avoid signing up for store credit cards:  You’re ready to pay – and just as you reach into your wallet the cashier says “would you like to sign up for our store credit card and get an extra 10 percent off?” They’ll offer you 10 percent off that day but charge you 4 percent every other day that you don’t pay the balance.
  • Don’t buy gifts for yourself:  Twenty-two percent of Americans buy gifts for themselves when they are shopping for others.
  • To build your holiday budget, trim discretionary expenses over the next couple of months. Cut back on dining out or going to the movies, or temporarily cancel a couple of monthly subscription services.

Shopping tips:

  • Sneak into the Mall - Avoid Busy Times and Impulse Shopping. Pick off-peak times to actually do your shopping. Hitting the stores during the day might save you some time and help you avoid impulse shopping.
  • Eat before you go and take a bottle of water along. This will help you from spending extra money.
  • Shop online to avoid spontaneous purchases - Buy as many gifts as possible online to avoid the temptation of picking up extra bits in the shops. Retailers are dab hands at enticing shoppers with beautiful Christmas displays.
  • Start buying presents now - You still have two (possibly three) pay checks to go until Christmas so start your present-buying now if you can. Buying just one or two gifts this month will take the pressure off mentally and financially. Panic buying is the easiest way to blow the budget!
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday can offer big savings, but you might find better deals at other times. Start checking prices now so you know what's a good deal — and what to skip.
  • Being frugal with holiday meal shopping can go far. Let go of some food traditions and focus on what your eaters like. You’ll have less food waste and less money waste.

What to buy:

  • Kids - One or two favorite toys is better than a mountain of toys and is less expensive. By buying something they can do or play with right away, they don’t think about how much or how little they got – they’re too busy enjoying their time playing with what they have!
  • Spouse - Consider not exchanging expensive gifts with your spouse. Buy a game that the whole family can play together, a DVD for family movie night, and some treats that will become part of what you serve when guests or family stop by.
  • Think Free:            Save Money With Homemade Gifts.    Look at your shopping list and decide if you really need to buy for everyone on the list. You still have time to make some personalized gift certificates for those who would value your time, company or help over a store-bought item. Think about babysitting for new parents, helping an older aunt or uncle around their home, or taking a grandparent out for a drive followed by dinner at your house. Homemade gifts can save money, but they also come from the heart which can put a real twinkle in someone’s eyes.
  • Do Secret Santa with family/friends - If you usually buy for all your family and friends, talk to them now about doing Secret Santa. Explain that you’re trying to keep your spending under control this year and that you’d rather buy one person a slightly more expensive present.

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