Tips For The Holidays
Financial advisors say it's essential to prepare
a spending plan well in advance of the holidays and avoid impulsive and emotional
purchases. "If you look at the reasons people end up in financial difficulty," says Katie Shern of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, "impulsive
spending is the major reason. And the major time for that is Christmas."
What most people don't understand, financial experts say, is that spending too much during the holidays can cramp their lifestyle all year long.
How To Economically Survive The Holidays
Below are tips on how to economically survive the holiday shopping season:
- Establish an overall spending limit. Create a written plan for holiday spending and gift giving a month or two in advance.
- If you've had a rough year financially, shrink the gift list. Talk with those you exchange gifts with and suggest either not exchanging gifts or observing lower dollar-limits on gifts.
- Spend cash and avoid writing a lot of checks or using credit cards.
- If your plan includes paying for some gifts by credit card, use just one or two credit cards when shopping rather than several. Know which credit card you use, the interest rate it charges, and above all, use it cautiously.
- Check details of "special" financing
offers. Some can be more expensive than they appear.
- Beware of "Buy Now Pay Later" offers. If you can't afford it now, you probably can't pay for it three months from now.
- Small financial gifts, rather than toys, can help relatives with the costs of growing children.
- Think small. Most people prefer smaller, more personal gifts. Put extra thought into your
gifts, not extra cash.
© 2003 Office of Employee Assistance/Florida International University.