The holidays are here! There is almost no way to avoid the madness of the holidays, the joy of giving, the excitement of receiving, and the stress of spending. Before you spend an hour looking for parking at your local shopping mall, please consider these tips to help your bank account stay out of the red.
Make A List, Check It Twice
Rather they are “naughty” or “nice,” we often guilt ourselves into purchasing gifts and extra items that we could avoid. Create a list of people including friends, family, coworkers, and others that are necessary to purchase a gift for. Add a dollar amount next to each gift so that you know the maximum amount that you are willing to spend on the person and stick to that number. Remember that Christmas cards are still in style and acceptable gifts for those that do not make your list.
Keep Your Waistline from Growing and Your Wallet from Shrinking
Gingerbread cookies, eggnog, festive fruitcake, peppermint mocha lattes…and the list goes on for holiday foods that we have a hard time resisting. Not only are we known to overspend on gifts, but during the holiday season we tend to splurge on specialty food items. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend more than $100 on holiday candy and food. Get a grip of your waistline and wallet by saying ‘no” or having a food budget.
Free May Not Be Your Friend
Everything is on sale or comes with a really awesome “special gift”…or so it seems. When there is a buy one, get one sale, how do we say “no” to a gift for ourselves, or someone who is not on our list? Simply remember that the gift is not free, and that you cannot focus on the freebie. Stick to your list and stay strong!
Put away your credit card and use cash instead on all your purchases. This will give you a physical sense of what you are spending. You will know when you are down to your last dollar and it will push you to spend wiser. According to financial guru Suze Orman, “When you’re limited to cash or a debit card (with no overdraft coverage), you’re much more likely to purchase only what you can afford.”
Vacation in the South Pole
If impulsive is your habit and spending is your flaw, send your credit cards on a mini vacation. Freeze your credit cards. You can call your credit line provider or you can literally freeze your cards in ice. Take a bucket, fill it with water and place your credit cards inside to chill. To make an impulsive buy, you will have to go through the thawing process, which gives you time to really think about what you are buying. Take that time to really consider how adding financial burden because of the holidays can offset your overall financial goals.
Jamillah Rahmaad is a Public Relations Consultant and Entertainment Journalist located in Atlanta, GA. In 2013, she founded Soukle, an organization specifically designed to engage professionals after work. She enjoys journalism on topics such as profiled interviews, special events, and business topics. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Jai_Soapbox.