Avoid Overspending this Holiday Season
Marketers specialize in creating messages that convince consumers they “must have” the latest gifts and gadgets that are “only available for a limited time.” An old cartoon depicts a woman loading a shopping cart with heaps of goods, while her husband questions her choices. She responds by saying, “It doesn’t matter; it’s on sale!”
A wise man once opined that if your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall. Avoid getting carried away with the season and overspending by following these suggestions.
Invest Yearly in a Christmas Fund
Many companies offer this as a voluntary deduction from your paycheck. You designate an amount that your employer then retains for you all year. You receive the lump sum in time for Christmas gift shopping. Even if your employer doesn’t offer it, this is a wise strategy to budget and save for holiday spending. Pay an amount from every paycheck into a fund just like a regular expense. At the end of the year, you have a windfall of cash for gift spending.
Establish a Gift Budget
Determine together as a family what you can safely spend from your budget for holiday gifts and let that be your guide. Divide up the budget between family members or other gift obligations and stay within the limits. This may mean leaving out some extended family or peers, but the reward for you is no post-holiday debt pressure that puts a damper on other activities or expenditures. You may want to explore homemade gifts or re-gifting options, too.
Determine that you will only buy gifts when the cash is available on hand to pay for them. Many people create a gift list early in the year and make purchases all year long, saving them for the Christmas season. This is a great way to use a little prior planning to avoid post-holiday debt worries and problems. Cash and carry is definitely the best way to do your holiday shopping.
If debt is beginning to overwhelm you, call Jamie L. Gingold, PC, GingoldBankruptcyLaw.com (Formerly practicing with Gingold & Gingold LLC) at (404) 685-8800 for help. Our first appointment is free, and we can help you turn things around.