Friday, November 18, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #4

Tip #4: A Financial Plan!

One of the biggest stressors in life (not just at the holidays) is money. My 10 Stress Free Holiday Tips will help you keep spending in check this holiday season. If you are able to follow these tips, or even some of the tips, you will feel better for it come January 2012.

Rather than calling this a "holiday budget" I like to call it a plan for financial success during the holidays. The goal is not to add to debt in January! You can do this by being in control of what you spend and save this season.

Each of these 10 Tips builds upon the tip before it. By keeping it simple (Tip #1), creating a plan (Tip #2) and using a calendar (Tip #3) you are prioritizing how you want to spend your time this season. You also need to prioritize how you spend your money.

The first step is to determine the overall amount that you can afford to spend on the holidays without adding to your debt in January. Once you have your "magic number" you need to break down your spending plan into categories. This should include not only gifts, but also extra food, decorations, utilities, and travel expenses to name a few.

The difficult part for most people is sticking to the plan. If you find you are a little too freewheeling with the credit card, you may want to make an envelope with cash for each of your categories. Another alternative is to purchase prepaid credit cards for in person or on-line shopping. It is okay to use your regular credit card, as long as you can pay for all of your purchases when the bill comes.
The next post will focus on making room for wise purchases by decluttering your space.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and the founder of Simply Organized Life.

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