The holiday season can cause additional stress for those who are trying to impress family and friends. It is important that you don’t go overboard during the holiday season.
It is important that you have a properly funded emergency fund and that fund should not be utilized during the holiday season—as holiday shopping and entertaining is not an emergency.
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It is also important that you don’t over-utilize your credit cards during the holiday season.
If you must use your credit card—it is important that you have a payoff plan in place "prior to" your entertaining and gift shopping.
You want to make sure you are in position to pay your credit card balance off in January or February at the latest.
If you currently have credit card debt outstanding—utilizing your credit card may be a bad strategy if your goal is to improve your credit and finances to a high level.
Below you will find other helpful tips for managing your money during the holiday season.
• Establish a budget you can live with
• Be sure your budget covers entertaining and gift giving
• Use your creativity to cut costs—but still make your entertaining memorable and enjoyable
• You don’t have to buy the most expensive gift or flower your guests with a number of gifts
• In the current economic environment most people are understanding of you scaling back on your gift giving
• Be sure not to tap into your emergency fund or retirement accounts
• Try to pay with cash—and if that is not possible use your credit wisely
• Be sure that you have the self-discipline that is needed if you plan on using credit
The above tips will help you avoid a financial situation that will possibly put you in a deeper financial hole.
In future years it may be helpful if you set up a holiday fund to alleviate the need to use credit or cash that you have for other purposes.
Make saving in a "holiday fund" one of your new year’s resolutions if you find yourself in the position where you are currently using credit to entertain and buy gifts during the holiday season.
The key is to start early and make consistent deposits that will cover your expected entertaining and gift outlays. It is not important that you are exact in your calculation of the amount needed—however you want to be fairly close.
If you do not currently have an emergency fund it
is imperative that you establish one at the earliest time possible. By doing so
you help reduce the financial risks that you and your family will face in the
Also, consider automatic debits from your checking or savings account to an account set up specifically for your holiday spending.
If you are consistent in your deposits and accurately forecast your holiday spending—you will avoid the need to use credit or cash that you have for other purposes.
Use your creative imagination and minimize your credit use during this holiday season—so that you can improve the living conditions for you and your family.
You can still make this holiday season enjoyable and cost effective—if you plan ahead and consider using some of the above tips—if you are not in a strong cash position during this holiday season.
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About This Article:
The above article was written by Thomas (TJ) Underwood. Thomas (TJ) Underwood is a former fee-only financial planner, a former top producing loan processor and is currently a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia.
He is the writer behind The Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books that include The Wealth Increaser, Home Buyer 411 The Smart Guide to Buying Your Home, Home Seller 411 The Smart Guide to Selling Your Home, and Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this MILLENNIUM.
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He is the creator of TheWealthIncreaser.com where he regularly blogs about helping consumers improve their credit, finance and real estate pursuits in an intelligent, consistent and proactive manner.
He’s always looking for ways to make intelligent finance improvement happen for those who “sincerely desire” success in their future. He was the first financial planner to coin the phrase "financially alert mind" and he consistently writes in a style that is designed to provide consumers the ability to take control of their lives and achieve great results.
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