Financial Advice for the Holiday Season
In less than 30 days, you will undoubtedly start hearing ads about losing weight. With holiday season spending and debt upon us, shaping up your finances should be another concern.
Without question, there are three main questions people have concerning their finances:
- How do I live within a budget?
- How do I save money for a specific goal?
- How do I get out of debt?
These questions have added value and concern as we begin the online and in-store end-of-year spending which can often leave debt piled higher than normal.
So, how do I live within a budget?
To begin to answer that question, you need to create a budget based on your household income, minus household expenses. It must be accurate. No cheating. You can’t forget drive-thru specialty coffees, gifts, or impulse buys on shopping networks or at the supermarket checkout.
How do I save money for a specific goal?
Make saving a priority. If you don’t have a savings account, then open one. Two, make a commitment to place in that account a minimum amount on a specific schedule, such as pay day. The amount of money is not as important as the habit of saving. There are times where I ask our clients to save $10 a month.
All this effort is only as good as your willpower, to be hands off from the funds you have managed – and committed – to save.
How do I get out of debt?
For some people, this is the toughest question. The average U.S. household had $8,158 in credit card debt at the end of 2016. Eliminating debt requires planning by yourself, or with the assistance of a certified credit counselor.
The words “commitment” and “sacrifice” are important in addressing debt. Sacrifice may mean less spending or bringing in more income. You must reduce expenses and bring home additional revenue. Would you cut your cable? Are you clipping or downloading coupons for purchases? Would you consider working overtime if offered, or finding a second job?
If tackling all of these issues seems daunting, think about calling a financial counselor to help.
For information on financial counseling, visit homeportohio.org.