While you can hire a financial planner to help you achieve financial independence and security, you also have the ability to do some financial planning on your own. We are in the holiday season, a time when there is a lot of emphasis on spending. There is a temptation to get carried away in this, the ‘season of giving.’ You can help yourself if you plan purchases and set a budget for holiday shopping.
If you’re living in a household that perpetually carries a credit card balance or you sometimes feel you’re at risk of heading in that direction, there are ways to patch the cracks in your financial foundation and improve your peace of mind going forward so you can enjoy the season and not begin the new year with buyer’s remorse.
Use cash. More than one study has shown that consumers who use a credit card buy more than those who use cash. Give yourself an allotment of cash to spend on holiday shopping and see how clever you can be with making the most of it.
Some of us have become accustomed to only using credit and debit cards, so using cash could be a useful exercise. Just be cautious, stay aware of your surroundings and try not to pull out a wad of cash in public.
Track the small stuff. Keep a list of your holiday shopping purchases (including food). It’s hard to cut back, and easy to deceive yourself, if you don’t know exactly where your money goes. By making a list you can avoid duplications. A list will also help you be mindful of the costs of each little stocking stuffer you buy.
Share responsibility. Rather than try to cut back on holiday spending on your own, get some help from your family and friends. Ask if it would be possible to set a maximum amount for gifts and have everyone to pull a name for a gift exchange.