Enjoy Your Holidays: Spend Wisely and Deal with Your Debt
The end of the year is a joyous time. However, it can also be a stressful time, financially, for many families. Adding to our everyday bills, we have to take care of holiday expenses, such as gifts, travel costs, and holiday family meals and get-togethers.
Many of us reach for our credit card, make the purchase, and then worry about it later. That is not a good recipe to having a peaceful holiday, and is a sure way to ruin the upcoming year.
Holiday Spending: Your Budget
Prepare yourself for the holidays. It isn’t ever too late to prepare for your holiday spending. (They come around each year). The first step you need to take is make and maintain your personal budget.
Make sure that your budget includes all types of your expenses:
- Fixed or Regular ongoing monthly expenses: Rent/Mortgage, Food, Transportation, Telephone
- Variable or Seasonal Expense: Heating, Vacations, Gifts, Property tax, Medical Bills, Maintenance, Clothing
- Other Expenditures: Don’t forget to budget for emergency expenses (an emergency savings fund) and savings accounts (saving, investments and retirement accounts).
Your budget will guide you through the year and prepare you for special occasions. It will also provide a framework for your holiday spending. You will know exactly how much you have to spend. We all know how easy it is to do holiday shopping and spend more than we intended. Let your budget be the guide. In order to help you budget for all your holiday expenses check out this holiday budget guide calculator.
Check out the Bills.com Holiday Infograhpic for more tips on holiday spending. Here are a few of the tips:
- Know your limits and don’t overspend.
- Don’t wait to the last minute to shop. Look for sales.
- Recycle and re-gift.
One common tip is to shop with cash. Put your budgeted holiday spending allowance in an envelope, in cash. If you run out of money, then the shopping spree is over. However, since many purchases today are made online, make sure that your bills are covered at the end of the month. Just make sure that cash in the bank covers your purchases. (You can transfer the real cash into another envelope). Don't get confused by big discounts and special sales. Just because you are saving a lot, compared to the normal price, does not mean you can afford the purchase.
Holiday Spending: Don’t Add Holiday Debt – Deal with Your Debt
Holiday spending does not have to translate to holiday debt. A well managed budget and staying within your means will help you concentrate on the important part of the holidays.
However, for some, including those who have faced difficult economic times and/or large emergency bills, debt is already a problem. Holidays can greatly add to the debt problem. For those with debt problems, the best holiday gift that you can give to yourself and your family is to deal with your finances and debt.
If you are going into the holiday season with debt, then deal with it now, not after the holidays. Struggling to make ends meet, or even worse having late payments, collection items, or public judgments are all very stressful. Although the holiday seasons have many demands, the most important one is to spend meaningful time with family and friends. Giving time and attention does not have to be costly. If you can’t afford the gifts and vacations, then find other ways to give.