As the holiday season gears up, you may be thinking about how you’ll avoid overeating at family gatherings and other social events. Is it also time to consider how you’ll avoid overspending?
- Have you shopped for holiday gifts with a “one for them, one for me” approach?
- Do you forget to track your spending, especially on small items like stocking stuffers?
- Could heightened emotions or competitive impulses sway you to buy an unnecessary gift for yourself or give your children more?
It’s vital to know what you need before shopping. Make a list of not only the items you need to purchase, but the stores you will visit. This can help you steer clear of wandering into impulse shopping territory. You may also want to set a time limit to help you get in and get out of stores.
Have a tough time saying no to your children when shopping together? Ask them to help you create the list before shopping. Then they too can focus on what you need instead of finding things you don’t.
Be mindful of your long-term goals when something that’s not on the shopping list catches your eye. Carrying a picture of your family or a vacation destination in your wallet may help you pause and rethink before adding a “want” rather than a “need” to your cart.
Some financial experts recommend waiting a week to see if you still want an item, others suggest 24 hours. It’s likely you’ll forget all about the cute shoes or computer gadget that was tempting you.
Another technique is to use cash and leave credit cards at home. You may want to even go as far as literally freezing your credit – by freezing your card in a block of ice. If something is really worth it, you’ll be willing to go home and chip away at your credit card to use it.
Stay on Track
Learn about our tools to help you manage your money on the go. Visit www.hfcu.org/access for details on setting up alerts, transferring funds, and reviewing your transactions from your mobile device.
Financial Management Help from Hanscom FCU
Budgeting and money management may not be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s why we offer BALANCESM. You have access to free and confidential financial education and counseling. It can help you take charge of your finances and build better financial habits. Set up an appointment at 888-456-2227.
We’ve got a Holiday Spending Guide to help you stay merry through the busy holiday season. Get your copy now at http://go.hfcu.org/holiday-budget-template