November 26, 2010
Black Friday spending should never lead to black marks on your credit report. That’s why Farm Bureau Bank feels it’s important to kick off the busiest shopping season with some useful money management tips.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Set a dollar amount based on what you can afford this holiday season considering your current savings, income and other expenses. Be sure to include a $20 to $100 cushion for unexpected expenses.
- Make a list. Write down the names of the people you plan to buy gifts for and how much you can afford to spend on each person. Don’t forget to budget for expenses other than gifts, including wrapping paper, cards and postage.
- Bakes some cookies. That’s right, if you can’t afford to buy gifts for everyone on your list, bake some holiday goodies and wrap them in cellophane with a holiday bow. Handmade gifts are a special way to say ‘Happy Holidays’ without overspending. Be sure to include these costs in your budget.
- Use credit wisely. Your credit card balance shouldn’t be a complete surprise when you open your statement in January. Take only the credit cards you need when holiday shopping and try to use the card with the lowest interest rate.
- Save your receipts. Keep track of your expenses and add them up weekly to be sure you’re sticking to your budget. If you’re getting close to your spending limit, reevaluate your list and bake more cookies!
- Shop around. Start your holiday shopping early to give yourself time to comparison shop. Take time to do some research before you hit the stores by going online or looking at your local newspaper circulars.
The holidays are much more enjoyable when expenses don’t indicate deeper debt. Keep the spending in check and you’ll be sure to enjoy the season without suffering any financial hangovers.