You say it every year after the holidays: “Next year I’m going to spend less money.” It’s easy to get carried away. It can be just as easy to stay financially fit, even during the busiest shopping season of the year.
The Credit Union National Association, the trade association for credit unions, and the Consumer Federation of America, Washington, D.C., suggest these holiday spending tips:
1. Budget your spending and set goals: Start with a realistic idea of how much you can spend on holiday gifts, food, travel, and so on. Add it up and really give some thought to what you can afford. Think about where you might cut back and stick to your budget.
2. Make a list: Shop from a list to avoid impulse purchases that could leave you snowed under in debt at the end of the season.
3. Comparison shop: Take the time to find the best deal. Fight the urge to get your shopping over with as quickly as possible, and, for the procrastinator: Don’t wait until the last minute!
4. Trim your interest payments: If you must pay with a credit card instead of using cash, use a card with a low-interest rate. Unison offers two great credit card choices – both with low rates and convenient payment options.
5. Open a Christmas Savings account: Put some money in the account each month based on how much you spent this year; arrange to have that amount automatically deducted from your paycheck. This way, next year you’ll have all the money you need. Plus, you’ll earn interest rather than making big interest payments to finance next year’s holiday shopping.