Tips to Get Through the Holidays - WITHOUT Getting in Debt!
It's amazing what we know - but don't do. You probably know many of the tips below "in princpal." The holidays, more than any other time, are when we need to put the principals in practice. That way, you can start 2015 without the added stress of newly loaded financial burdens.
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TIP 1: SET YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET
Before you dash off to the mall --- set your limit. Yes, set a dollar value for the maximum to spend for everyone on your list. Then, add up your total, make revisions if/as needed, AND STICK TO IT.
TIP 2: PAY WITH CASH
Sounds basic. But you'd be surprised how many people don't do it. When you set a cash limit --- when it's over, it's over. No debt to deal with come January 1.
TIP 3: SPEND IT WITH BENJAMINS
This one might sound strange, but read on. Spend With Benjamins. Go to the bank, withdraw your Christmas budget --- and ask for all of it in $100 dollar bills. It's harder to peel off a Benjamin than it is a twenty. You'll be careful to think twice before you break that Benjamin.
TIP 4: USE YOUR DEBIT CARD OR BUY A PREPAID CARD
Add money to your debit card that equals your preset holiday budget. OR – Buy a prepaid debit card and dedicate it to a set limit for holiday spending. That way, what you don't have --- you can't spend! If you go to checkout and the cashier says "there's a problem" and thinks you're embarrassed --- flash a smile. You're sticking to your spending plan!
TIP 5: SET A BUDGE AND LIMIT ON NON-GIFT SPENDING
Set0 a budget for all the holiday parties. And don't forget to factor-in costs for parking, gas and tips. You'll be surprised how non-gift expenditures can increase your overall holiday expenses.
TIP 6: WISELY CHOOSE WHICH CREDIT CARDS TO USE
Of all your plastic options, credit cards are the ones that can saddle you with debt that will take months to pay off. So, pick the card that gives you the most favorable terms, from interest rates to rewards, points and airline mileage. Then, take the others out of your wallet. Leave home without them.
TIP 7: TAKE TIME TO TALLY-UP. EVERY DAY.
When you get home from the mall, pull out your calculator and subtract what you've spent from your checking account or debit card balance. Add what you've spent on credit card purchases. THIS will put a real life reality check on your spending. Don't wait to do it after the holidays. Do it day-by-day. This will help to keep you and your budget in check.