More Than Just Mistletoe: Preparing for the Holiday Season

The day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday shopping season, and every year, thousands of shoppers overextend their finances in a few short weeks. Overspending and poor money management has the potential to ruin “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people; but YOU can avoid these problems all together. With an individual commitment and some simple preparation, your holiday season can be “very merry and bright” without the burdens of future debt. Here are our top three tips for ensuring your financial success this holiday season:

1.) Give Creative and Practical Gifts.
Often times people get so caught up in the frenzy of shopping malls that the simplest, home made gifts get overlooked. Rather than spending the extra money for a gift card for your mail carrier, neighbor or paperboy; try baking cookies. Instead of frantically searching for a sweater for your long-lost aunt or uncle, try taking a classy, family photo and putting it in a frame. Use your skills to judge what is best for your family and friends, knowing that gifts aren’t just measured by dollar values.

2.) Plan Ahead.
Your ability to manage your holiday spending can increase dramatically if you just spend the time to prepare. Participating in Yankee Swaps or gift drawings, and purchasing specific items online are two strategies that can be planned in advance, used to limit your total gift purchases and keep impulse shopping at a minimum.

3.) Build a Separate Budget.
The most effective way to monitor your expenses is by creating your own budget. For the holiday season, it is very easy to list the total number of gift purchases needed, the amount you can afford to spend on each gift, and exactly how much income you have each week or month. With each of these items well documented, you can even determine how many gifts you can afford to buy each pay period, without ever having to worry about debt or credit.

American Consumer Credit Counseling
Attn: Tom Palange
Education Programs Specialist
130 Rumford Ave.
Newton, MA 02466
1-800-769-3571 Ext. 708

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