The average American will spend $704 this holiday season. Without the proper planning, this means that many people will be paying off credit card balances for months long after December is over. By following a few basic guidelines, we can all enjoy the holidays and not have the financial stress that busting our budget leaves us with. Here are 8 tips that leave you stress (and debt) free this holiday season:
- Make a spending plan. Look over your budget and decide how much you can afford to spend overall.
- Make a list of people to buy for and a personal budget for each person. Don’t leave it at home – make sure you have it with you while shopping!
- Compare prices. Check ads because the same item can vary quite a bit from store to store.
- Use cash over credit. Consumers spend 26% more using credit and 13% more using debit cards because it doesn’t “feel” like money!
- Avoid impulse buying – stick to your budget.
- Find alternatives to buying gifts: homemade gifts, coupons for services (such as babysitting or yard work). Our ReStore offers many possibilities for DIY gifts!
- Start a Holiday savings account at your bank or credit union right now for next year. Example: $20 bi-weekly from your paycheck for a year = $520!
- Relax and enjoy time with friends and family! Making memories are free
Beth Blanco is a Family Support Service Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley. She is a certified Financial Counselor and works with Habitat partner families to get their finances and credit in order to become responsible homeowners.