Monday, November 29, 2010

7 Must Know Financial Tips for the Holidays

7 Must Know Financial Tips for the Holidays
How To Survive Holiday Shopping and Prosper in the New Year

Holiday shopping is in full swing and even started early this year, but it doesn’t have to be a financial disaster for you. Retailers have been marking down old products and ushering in new ones to convince you to spend your hard earned cash. And, while most Americans have slowed down their spending over the past year, the holidays will unfortunately rid many of them of their savings and cause them to plunge into the financial abyss.

Financing and credit cards only add to the problem. Have you noticed that the credit card offers, that had stopped a year ago, are now coming in droves? You can finance, transfer and live completely in debt! But, you don’t have to fall for these clever financing schemes. Take control of your finances and shop on your terms.

Even the television networks are pulling out all the stops to get you to spend your money without thought. Over the Thanksgiving holiday a morning show had a song and dance skit with the entire production staff dancing and singing. The theme song echoed “Do it - let’s go out and spend…” You have to be kidding me! Forget Christmas and the spirit of giving… let’s spend our way to happiness.

We should all take a step back and remember what really makes us happy, the love of family and friends. Let’s be grateful for what we have, and give our love. Spending our money on unneeded items and useless toys that accumulate dust will never fulfill our true desires.

Most people don’t think twice when acting on an offer and paying $100 month for a new plasma TV, but they break out in hives when asked to save $100 month. What’s wrong with this picture?

So, what can you do? I’ve put together 7 must know financial tips for the holidays. A how to guide for surviving holiday shopping.

1. Make a spending budget and stick to it.
2. Never buy anything that you didn’t plan on.

3. Use cash and debit cards, limiting your use of credit.

4. Shop online for sales and time your purchases.

5. Remind yourself of the burden of debt and focus on the benefits of saving.

6. Shop early and avoid last-minute shopping.

7. Spend your time, not your money, with family and friends.

Let’s take a look at what can happen:

You go to the local big box store to buy some toys for the kids. While you’re there you notice the plasma TV’s are finally coming down to an affordable price and start thinking that maybe this is your chance to get the kids off the living room TV. You can nab the new 50” High Definition TV with all the bells and whistles for about $100 month for 2 years. Or, maybe it’s a new laptop or cell phone with wireless, blah, blah, blah…. Whatever it is, the $100 month is just the beginning, because you’ll need the HD cable or the unlimited data plan to go with your new purchase. And, don’t forget the wasted hours getting it all to work and spent watching useless shows and searching the social networks.

A better picture:

You make a list and check it twice, shopping online to find the best deals. You only pickup the must have toys while shopping and decide to teach the kids some fiscal responsibility and financial stewardship. You take them to see the Grandparents and have them make something special for them. You take a family picture or create an album of the kids growing up. This is so much easier now than when you were growing up because of the digital camera you bought last year. Result, they learn the true meaning of Christmas by giving, and they feel good knowing they took part in something special.

You then take the $100 month that would have been spent on the television and save that money. You treat this money with the same respect that you would the payment on the new techno gadget, forming a habit of saving. You feel good that you have been responsible with your money and you have taught the kids stewardship. After the same 2 years you haven’t really missed anything, all the games and shows have been available via your current setup or online. Gadget prices continue to fall, and you can get an even better deal when it’s on your schedule.

Follow these financial tips and you can prosper in the New Year. Instead of having debt, you can have savings. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll set an example for your family.

Have a great holiday shopping season and prosper in the New Year!

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