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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

6 key ways to avoid the post holiday debt blues

It's that time of year again.  The stores are decked out in red and green and holiday sales are popping up around every corner.  With so much holiday shopping taking place, the post holiday financial blues are soon to follow.  

Although, this season doesn't have to be the same as all the last.  By planning ahead, you can alleviate some of the post holiday blues by being proactive and setting a budget.  Keep these tips in mind when you do your holiday shopping this year, especially if you're determined not to overspend. 

Set a budget. Before you head out the front door to the stores make sure to determine exactly how much money you have to spend this year.  Also, set a price limit for each person you plan to shop for.  That limit can be $25 or $200, but whatever it is make sure to stick to it.  Remember that it's about the memories you make during the holiday season, not the amount of money spend on each gift.  

Budget for non-gift expenditures.  With the holidays comes the need for extra groceries and home decor.  When setting your holiday budget make sure to include these items so there are no post-shopping financial surprises.  

Don't buy all your gifts. For neighbors and coworkers, it might not be as financially realistic to spend $20 to $25 getting an individual gift for each of them.  Consider baking cookies, sending a holiday greeting card, or treating them to coffee.  Homemade gifts from love can sometimes go a much longer way than any other retail item.  

Avoid using your credit cards.  Struggling to stay within your budget? Use cash.  This will force you to stick to your budget and not be tempted to charge items that you might have difficulty paying off later.  

Skip the mall.  Stay away from places and activities that provoke you to impusle spend.  It's easy to go into a mall for one item and get easily distracted by the "buy it now" and "Christmas sale" signs.  Shopping online is a much safer alternative and helps you to make smarter purchasing decisions.  

Monitor your spending.  A budget comes the obligation to keep track of what you are spending your money on.  If you aren't nearing the end of your Christmas shopping and have spent more than 75% of your budget, you might want to reevaluate where you are putting your money.  It might be necessary to make adjustments along the way.  Making budget cuts now will be far less painful than having to make them in January when all your bills come in.  

How are you doing with your holiday budget this year? We’d love to know your financial planning tips for staying within your budget and avoiding the post-holiday debt blues!  Leave us a comment below or email us at info@ranlife.com 

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