The holidays are right around the corner. Stores are opening on Thanksgiving, extending their hours, offering Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals, and slashing prices, trying to lure shoppers. The holiday music is playing and everyone is getting into the holiday spirit of gift giving. It is easy to get side-tracked and spend too much money. One of the easiest ways of avoiding a financial headache in January is to develop a spending plan before hitting the mall. A few more tips are listed below:
- Set a shopping limit. Then develop a gift log writing down or recording each item into a cell phone application as you spend. Avoid impulse buying and using credit cards for all of your purchases.
- Check your list and trim it. Instead of giving everyone in the family a gift, consider one group gift. Champion a Secret Santa or draw names with co-workers and friends. Instead of purchasing gifts, consider making baked goods or crafts made from items you have on hand.
- Plan ahead and don’t get caught shopping at the last minute. Look for special savings days and discounts. Cut coupons. When shopping online make sure that items purchased include free shipping. Finally, purchase gifts throughout the year to reduce the total amount spend during a very short period.
- Reduce stress and enjoy the season. Last minute shopping can negatively impact your budget and your well-being. Maintain normal routines and healthy lifestyles. Stick to your budgets both financially, personally, and through time management.
If you need help setting up your budget, contact the Service Member Support Division, Family Assistance Line, 1-800-292-9464 option 3 for assistance.