Statistics show that consumers spend more money during the 3 months before New Year’s than any time of the year. It makes perfect sense as these 3 months include Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Costumes, parties and entertainment, presents and travel are at a yearly high. Unfortunately for many, much of that purchasing is done on credit. Credit, usually at high interest rates, leads to major financial difficulties in the future.
Tips to Help Save During the Holidays
Here are a few tips to help you save during the Holidays, so next year doesn’t have to be stressful.
- Talk with your family and friends and agree to a limit on how much you are allowed to spend on each other.
- Agree to a limited gift exchange, whereby each person is responsible for buying for only one person. Draw names to make it interesting.
- Instead of exchanging gifts, find a time when you are all available and go on outing or trip to a special place together. I bet it will be more memorable later in life. I personally can’t remember what I received last year for Christmas, but I remember every trip I have been on with my family in great detail.
- Instead of exchanging gifts contribute to a charity.
- Be creative and find alternatives to purchasing gifts, such as homemade treats or computer made coupons agreeing to do free yard work, house cleaning or babysitting. Again, be creative. You know your skills, provide them. Remember it is the thought that counts and “Time” is money.
- Once you figured out who you are buying presents for and how much you are spending on each, determine your overall budget and stick to it. This will help you avoid the temptations of last minute impulse buying. Sticking to your Budget takes discipline and if you are lacking in that department, enlist help. Everyone knows someone who can be that voice of reason. Personally, I have a new niece who is to be born shortly after the New Year and my wife is having to hold me back from buying every Disney Princess dress I see. She is my voice of reason.
- Next year start buying early. Don’t wait to the last second. Take advantage of deals throughout the year that may not be available during the holiday season. This year’s hot item will usually go on sale sometime next year and your little one can still have it, at a much cheaper price. Another plus to this strategy of buying a present or 2 here and there during the year means when it gets to the holiday season, you are already finished or very close and can just enjoy the season.
- Avoid buying unnecessary extended warranties or service contracts. Extended warranties often duplicate the product’s existing warranty and are usually not worth the extra cost. Also, within this tip, I want to add, watch out for overzealous commission based salespeople. Make sure that voice of reason person is with you. If it is something you did not plan to buy, don’t.
- Keep all receipts from your purchases and know the store’s return policies in case you end up taking it back for some reason.
- Lastly, pay with cash, check or debit card. Thus, you will not buy anything you don’t have the money in the bank to buy. This will help you avoid finance charges that can be astronomical.
If you have spent too much during the year or end up spending too much during the holiday season, don’t let it ruin your New Year. Please call one of our affiliated offices at Bond and Botes. We have offices in Alabama, Tennessee or Mississippi and we offer free initial consultations. So feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices to set up a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
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Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999.Read his full bio here.