By Katie Moore
GreenPath Personal Finance Counselor
The holiday spending season is upon us! Here’s some tips from GreenPath to help ease a “credit card hangover” in 2015!
1. Make a master list of all the holiday expenses. Not only the people on your list but decorations, additional food costs, travel costs, charitable donations, additional activities that are outside of your regular budget.
2. Evaluate if you have the money/are willing to spend that much. If you don’t, decide where you want to make cuts. Consider ways to cut back such as drawing names/”Secret Santa”, homemade gifts like baked goods or doing a favor for a family member.
3. Evaluate options to pay. Ideally you have money in savings. Are you comfortable with using that amount of savings?
4. Consider a paycheck plan. Can you use the paychecks that you have between now and the holidays to cover these expenses. After paying bills and covering priority expenses, is there enough money left over to cover your holiday costs? If not, can you make cuts?
5. Spending money you don’t have. If you are using a credit card, it is important to remember this means you are spending money that you do not have. When the bills come in January and February, you are ideally not sending in the minimum payments but looking at your balance and evaluating how much of the balance you can afford to pay so that you are not still paying for this holiday season next Christmas.
6. Remember what counts for holidays. Holidays are an emotional time, a lot of us going through hard times might be over generous, want to give their family a good Christmas, remember it’s the time together, not what you got as a gift that counts.
7. Start saving for next year. Rather than have a huge increase in expenses at the end of the year, consider starting a holiday savings account in January. Have a small amount of money going direct deposit into a savings account off of each check so that when the 2015 holiday season is here, you have the money saved.
Editor’s Note: Katie was recently interviewed on the FOX Detroit affiliate discussing credit and debt during the holiday shopping season. Click below to watch the video.