Budgeting for the Holiday Season

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Can you believe it’s already November? Halloween is over and Christmas songs have begun to play in pharmacies and shopping malls nationwide. Children are smiling with eyes twinkling back at all the colorful lights and decorations, excited for the holidays.

Of course, like all things, the holidays come with their fair share of beautiful and challenging moments. We want to help you streamline your holiday experience so you and your family can focus on the magic.

Starting with: The budget. We know, it’s not fun to focus on budgeting during the holidays— but it sure does make the new year a whole lot cheerier. We found this great article from Kiplinger.com called Ten Holiday Shopping Tips on how to conquer the ongoing quest of sticking to the budget. Here are our top 6:

  1. Pay Cash.
    Breaking bills makes you think twice about spending money—once you’re out of cash, you’re out of cash.
  2. Know thy enemy.
    If you’re going to pay by credit card, use the one with the most favorable terms. That may sound obvious, but many people carry as many as five bank cards in their wallets and don’t always know what the interest rate is on each card.
  3. Keep a running tally of your credit-card spending.
    When you come home from a day of shopping, immediately subtract what you’ve spent from your checking-account balance. This both gives you a visual record of how much you’ve spent and ensures that you’ll have enough money in the account to pay the bill when it arrives.
  4. Have a plan to pay off your bills.
    If you overspent last year, it’s time to cut back. For example, set a goal to cut your spending by 20% and pay off your balances by Valentine’s Day. Meeting your deadline will give you the confidence to whittle another 20% off your spending next year.
  5. Think outside the gift box.
    Plenty of alternatives are less expensive, and more fun, than buying a gift for every sibling, in-law, niece and nephew. Instead, have a family gift exchange in which you each choose one name and put more thought than money into selecting a single gift.
  6. Make a list.
    Writing down which stores you’ll visit and which gifts you plan to buy helps focus your shopping excursion and makes the chore more pleasant.
Another great way to stick to the budget is by using these DIY decoration ideas on Pinterest. They have beautiful plans; you can involve the whole family in really fun projects that will be particularly fun for the kids.

We also wanted to address holiday home safety. First of all, if you don’t have a home insurance plan, we hope you’ll call us as soon as possible to set one up. Also, to protect your most valuable investment, remember to consider safety in decorating the tree, lighting candles, cleaning the fireplace before using it for the first time, and generally being conscious of how you’re handling outdoor decorations. Home fires are among the most common holiday blunders, so don’t let it happen to you!

Happy Magical Holidays. 🙂

Warmly,
Your Friends at The Point

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