Holiday Financial Preparedness
Are you still carrying debt from last year's holiday celebrations? Removing the burden of previous years' debt is crucial. It leaves you better prepared for future holidays. The simplest step to reduce this burden is to pay extra each week to pay off the debt. It may involve some sacrifice, but a headache-free future is worth it.
Too close to the holidays to get that debt paid off? You will need to plan your holiday carefully and spend less while paying extra towards your debt. It doesn't sound exciting, but debt pay off requires some sacrifice. Nevertheless, you can still have a good holiday.
Prioritize what is important. One thing that can get us in debt at the holidays is trying to do everything. All this does is cause stress both emotionally, physically, and financially. Holidays are meant to bring joy and togetherness. Prioritizing what is most important to you and your family will help save money as well as stress. You may find that what makes the holiday truly special to each family member doesn't require spending.
Try a gift name exchange. Gifts can really run up the debt. Your family and co-workers may choose to start a gift exchange. An exchange of names reduces the number of gifts to buy. It lets you concentrate on putting thoughtfulness into just one or two items.
Decorate with ornaments you already have. There is no need to buy new decorations every year. In fact, pulling out and using prior year's ornaments can become a tradition. These items hold special memories of past holidays and loved ones. Or try an old-fashioned style Christmas. You can pop popcorn and string it onto the tree. Make your own decorations such as stars made out of paper. The creative endeavor can bring your family closer together.
Guard your credit or debit card. Thieves love the holidays. People are in a hurry and distracted. This makes stealing much easier. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your purchases stored in a trunk or out of sight in your vehicle. Several big stores have had trouble with credit card information being stolen. Keep a check on your credit through the holidays or pay with cash. Be aware that stolen debit card information can wipe out your bank account. Debit cards do not carry the protection that credit cards do.
Set a spending limit. It pays to set a limit on spending at the beginning of the holiday. Keep track of it to make sure you are staying in your limits. Coordinate with other family members who are part of the spending limit. You may find that by limiting expenses you appreciate what you do get more.
The holidays can be great fun. By all means, enjoy the season. Just stay safe and within your budget and after the holidays you will be stress-free knowing you don't have a big debt to pay off.
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