Holiday Financial Planning November 2011

Are you among the twelve million people that Consumer Reports magazine say are still paying off debt holidays ten months ago?  Holidays are definitely the time for giving and spending. 

It’s also the time for financial planning through using a holiday spending game plan.  Setting a target and sticking close to it will go a long way towards relieving stress of being broke after the holidays.

Some ideas to use:

Make a budget of how much you want to spend and who you want to spend on.  This may mean having family conversations about cutting down on the number of gifts or limiting their value or cost to stay within your means.

Use cash as much as possible.  Limit the use of credit cards since they make it very easy to spend more than planned.  Some stores have brought back lay-a-way which means you only pick up the gifts once they are paid for.

Be watching for deals, coupons in sales ads and online.  And this means for more than just gifts.  Include purchasing holiday food items or ingredients when they are on special at your favorite store.

Challenge stores to price match when you can.

Some gifts you may be able to wait until after holiday sales to purchase.  This may be particularly helpful for saving money on big ticket items.

There are many ideas for smarter spending, or not spending, at holiday time.  Find the ways that make sense for you, save money, and avoid being among those still paying 10 months after the event.