In the spirit of the season, here are 12 tips to help you avoid the holiday debt blues.
Before you shop:
• Plan Your Spending
• Developing a holiday budget is the best first step if you want to
keep your spending in check.
• Figure out how much to spend on each person and write it down. Remember to include secondary costs, like gift wrapping supplies, postage and thank you notes.
• Make your “perfect gift” list, then comparison shop to find where you can get the best value for your money.
• If you use a credit card, develop a plan in advance to pay off your total holiday spending.
• Set up e-mail alerts to stay up-to-date on credit card and other activities such as check postings.
• Keep saving money on a regular basis.
While you shop:
• Stay Focused
• Limit your credit card use and stay within your credit card limit.
• Avoid impulse purchases.
After you shop:
• Managing Your Debt
• Pay at least the minimum amount due – and the full amount if you can.
• Pay your credit cards no later than the due date.
• Return unwanted items for cash back or a store credit.
• Set up a holiday savings plan for next year by setting aside money each month.
A little discipline and planning will help keep you in a festive mood well after the holidays, and lead to a strong financial start to celebrate a wonderful New Year.