Spending Tips For The Holidays!
Author: Shannon Miller
“Financial Fitness” is especially important during the holidays.
We were joined by Gail Lewis from 121 Financial Credit Union on Shannon Miller Lifestyle radio show to get the skinny on our holiday savings! Check out her tips for keeping your pocket book in check.
Tip Number 1: Build a Budget!
A budget is a spending plan. It is a form of self-developed protection that will allow you to live comfortably within your income. Start a spending plan for yourself today.
- Utilize a Holiday Loan like the one at 121 Financial – unlike using a credit card, you’ll know exactly how long you’ll have to pay off the purchases.
- Shop early for gifts. This allows you to take advantage of sales, specials and bargains. Don’t over-buy or forget you have already shopped for someone.
- Make your own gifts. Use skills you have to sew, bake, paint or make crafts.
- Don’t be a “One gift for you…one gift for me” shopper! And don’t be tempted to give your gifts early lest you buy more!
- Use layaway plans if possible. Most allow you to pay at a rate you can afford either weekly or monthly.
- If you have a large family, consider drawing names to exchange gifts.
- Shop your local craft fairs and shows for specialty items – you’ll find some great ideas. Sometimes you can bargain with the vendor.
- Family members would appreciate an IOU to mow the loan or wash the car in the spring.
- If you plan to fill stockings or bags for the children, try putting a few pieces of fruit (apples & oranges) in the bottom first. Also, coloring books and scratch pads make great inexpensive fillers.
- Know your merchants’ return policies before buying.
- Don’t have a holiday credit hangover! Remember, credit obligations (excluding home mortgages and utilities) should not exceed 15-20 percent of your take-home pay each month.
- If you prefer to use a credit card, check out 121 Financial’s low rate cards with no annual fees.
- Don’t forget to plan ahead for expenses such as holiday decorations, special candies, baking supplies (especially if baking for gifts), increased utility bills, food consumption and wrapping paper. These expenses are rarely considered and can really add up fast.