Survive the Holidays During the Economic Slowdown
Americans plan on spending about $833 on the holidays this year. This figure has not changed much in the last 3 years although it is up 9% from last year’s $752.
Even though the predicted increase is small, people still seem pressured to spend more on the holidays compared to last year. However, spending more this holiday season may not be a wise money management decision in today’s turbulent economy.
Don’t worry. Credit Advisors Foundation offers some tips, so you can still have a happy holiday season.
- Before your friends and family start their holiday shopping, suggest drawing names or even placing a moratorium on gift giving. This way you will not feel obligated to purchase a gift for everyone.
- Find hidden sources of income; dig through your couch, cash in your change jar and deposit the money in your piggy bank.
- Consider making small lifestyle adjustments, for example, a family of four spends about $60 each time they eat dinner at a restaurant. If they stopped eating out during these next two months, they could save at least $240 by Christmas, based on regular dining habits.
- Give yourself a raise. Tell Uncle Sam “No Way Ebenezer Scrooge”. Adjust your tax withholding. Use the “proceeds” to finance your holiday. Based on the average refund, amount saved in 4 months $450.
- Make a list of gifts you plan to purchase and start monitoring sales. Due to the competition of online sales, many stores are beginning to offer holiday sales earlier.
- When you go shopping set a time limit, take your list, and stick to it. Here’s why: The time you spend in a store in an opportunity to spend money. Limit your time. Even the grocery store. Once a week, with a list, (including all those drinks, snacks and lunch supplies to take to work). This will cut down on impulse buys (a special nuisance this time of year with the lights and manufactured excitement in stores). Almost half of all shoppers go to grocery stores 3 or 4 times a week – if you spend only $10 on impulses each time that’s $40 a week. Take a list once a week and after 2 months you’ll have an additional $320 to dedicate to holiday spending.
- Consider purchasing your gifts on the internet. You may need to pay shipping, but generally items are less expensive when purchased on-line and most online retailers offer free shipping on most items.
It may be hard to start thinking about Christmas shopping now, but it will be worth it. By following these few suggestions you can have a happy holiday season without breaking the budget or increasing your debt.