Start saving for the holidays now – Planning and budget can save you money in 2014

David Flores, GreenPath Regional Manager and Counselor

David Flores, GreenPath Regional Manager and Counselor

By David Flores, GreenPath counselor and manager

Fresh on the heels of kids going back to school and college with new backpacks, clothes and more, America is bracing for the upcoming three-month holiday season, which means spending money to celebrate. Counselors at GreenPath have compiled some ways to save money during the upcoming holiday season.

HALLOWEEN
Halloween is on a Thursday this year, which could mean parties spread out over two weekends. While you may spend money on costumes and candy for the actual holiday, you could be spending even more hosting or attending parties for ghosts and goblins.

To help keep costs in check when buying a costume, consider reaching out to family and friends who may have costumes left over from last year.

It’s a good habit to share your costumes, as the ones that aren’t handed down, likely are only worn once.

When it comes to buying the candy, pick your leasSix children in costumes trick or treating at woman's houset favorite.  This will stop the temptation of eating it before the actual holiday and save you from running back to the store when the candy is no longer on sale.


THANKSGIVING

In 2012, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner increased 1 percent from 2011, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) annual study.

The AFBF has been conducting the informal price survey for 27 years, and estimates households put a turkey dinner and all the fixings on the table for 10 guests in 2012 for $49.48, or $0.28 more than 2011’s average.

Some of the 2012 prices for ten people around the Thanksgiving table:
•    Turkey – $22.23 (16 lb. at $1.39 per pound)
•    Stuffing – $2.77
•    Sweet potatoes – $3.15
•    Pumpkin pie – $5.53

Thanksgiving can be stressful as well as a financial drain on the pocketbook. Reach out to your extended family for assistance.  Many people are happy when asked to share a dish to pass because they get a chance to show off one of their favorite recipes.

CHRISTMAS/HANUKKAH/KWANZAA
holiday budgetingWe encourage our clients to carefully budget their holiday spending, by planning ahead and avoiding impulse purchases.

While credit cards can be very tempting to purchase gifts, they can result in a “holiday hangover” in January, when the credit card bills come due.

During the upcoming holiday season, GreenPath reminds people to consider the following.

Before using credit
• Plan for purchases in advance. Do you want to commit future income to monthly credit payments?
• Is the item you are considering purchasing with credit a need or a luxury?
• Learn to say no and mean it. Remember, we cannot have everything that we want.
• If you know credit cards purchases are tempting, then don’t carry the cards with you.
• Weigh the pros and cons of the purchase.

Did you observe the “two-day rule?” When you see something you really want to buy on credit, go home and think about it for two days. If you decide after two days that it is still a smart buy, and it fits into your budget, then go back and buy it.

Shop around
•    Look at various sources.
•    Some stores are now offering lay away.  If it goes on sale later, they often give you the sale price.

Read and understand the contract when opening new credit
• Read the contract carefully.
• Don’t rush into signing anything.
• Once a contract is signed, get a copy of it.
• Know the penalties for missed payments.

By observing these suggestions and planning ahead, you can kick off 2014 without a “holiday financial hangover,” focusing in on a great New Year!

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