Tips for Holiday SpendingBy Caitlin in Advice
Yes, it’s that time of the year again! No matter what you celebrate, the holidays can be quite expensive. ‘Tis the season of giving, and consumers will spend a hefty sum once again. And if you’re not careful, you might put yourself into a serious financial situation. The trick this season is to be responsible with your money, so here are 7 tips get you on your way:
1. Be smart and get organized
Yeah, you have a big list of names whom you want to buy gifts for. Well, here’s what not to do: go to the mall, take your credit card with you, and mindlessly just buy whatever.
Instead, make a list, double check it, triple check it, and stick to it!
You can take it up a notch by including your decorations and any meal costs in your budget.
2. Don’t overspend
Sometimes when shopping people get
anxious excited and exceed their budgets by buying things they didn’t actually need. Stay true to your budget and your shopping list, and things will turn out OK.
3. Remember who you’re shopping for
It’s not uncommon to go shopping for a gift for somebody else, and up buying stuff for yourself as well. Look, you had all year to buy yourself whatever you wanted. Stay true to the holiday season and don’t shoot yourself in the foot by overspending during this time.
Shop smart: wait until boxing day, or until the season ends, and buy that item you really want when it goes on sale.
4. Remember your credit score
Your generosity might not have a limit, but your credit cards do. Keep that in mind, and don’t overwhelm yourself with debt this holiday season. That extra debt burden can take years to pay off so shop responsibly.
If you find yourself financially strapped for this period try talking to your mortgage broker and extending your mortgage or home equity line: extending this type of loan is at least cheaper than payday loans or credit cards.
5. Be old fashioned
Credit and debit cards offer a convenient way to shop, but they also offer a convenient way to empty your accounts and blow all your money. Using credit or debit cards tends to “remove” you from the action of spending money, whereas spending physical money serves to remind you of the actual cost of the transaction. Also, by pulling the exact amount of cash you want to spend for your gift purchases this year it will be easier for you to keep track of your expenses.
6. If you have to go in debt, plan it out
Maybe accumulating a little bit of debt this season is unavoidable (but don’t go overboard!). The best thing to do in this situation is to make an educated decision on how much debt you can actually afford to accumulate by first analyzing your repayment capabilities in the year that follows.
7. Appreciate the small things
You don’t need a brand new big screen TV or that new Macbook Air to be happy. Take the time to enjoy the holidays and the extra free time with the things that matter in your life: your friends, your family. Exercise or watch a movie. The best things in life are free!