Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial. We all know there is a lot to spend money on this time of year. Use these tips along with some expert advice from our sponsor, Genworth Financial, to avoid getting into financial trouble this holiday season.
Ready or not, the holidays are upon us. I always find that it can be the most wonderful time of the year, or can be the most stressful one. One of the big things that can make it stressful is having enough money to cover all of the holiday buying.
To make this year a little less stressful, the financial experts at Genworth Financial have sponsored us to help you keep track of your money, while having a wonderful holiday. Genworth Financial is a provider of long term care insurance, life insurance, mortgage insurance and wealth management services. They are also very committed to financial education and have put together a series of helpful videos and articles on financial planning which are going to help us with our holiday financial survival.
Tips For Holiday Finance:
* Budget: I find that budgeting is the key factor for any financial survival. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Plan out your holiday budget, including b money for regular bills, gifts, and extra food/ groceries. Now stick to it at all costs. Whatever money you have in your budget can be sufficient with a little bit of creativity.
* Be resourceful: If after creating your holiday budget you feel that you just don’t have enough, its time to get resourceful! The holidays are a time when lots of people are willing to pay for items and services that they typically wouldn’t. Use this to your advantage! Think of what products or services that you could provide to earn some extra cash. Some ideas could be; providing a gift wrapping service, hanging Christmas lights, babysitting for friends who need to do gift shopping or are going to holiday parties, selling homemade cookie dough, holiday house cleaning service (or sell house cleaning gift certificates as a great gift for moms), anything else that uses your talents to make the holidays easier for someone willing to pay for it! Also consider making homemade gifts. Not only are they budget friendly, but they also make the best gifts! My all time favorite and most memorable gifts are the ones that people have taken the time to create themselves. It feels like they aren’t just giving a gift, but giving a piece of themselves. Take time to think about what homemade gifts you can give this year (Pinterest is a great resource for that too!)
* Avoid Credit: Especially around this time of year, credit card offers, cash advances and holiday loan offers are bombarding you everywhere. It is so easy to say “I’ll charge it now and pay it off after we get a tax return.” Take it from me (a gal who has said that too many times), once it is on that card, it easily becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. You end up making months and months of minimum payments, resulting in high interest premiums and unwanted debt. Stick with whatever money you have, and make that work for your holiday spending. It will make for a much happier New Year!
* Simplify: I know it might sound like a cliché, but the holiday season doesn’t need to be about the things you buy as much as about the memories you make. Try not to go overboard on gifts by limiting your kids to one or two special things that they would really love. We have tried to do this for the past few years, and I have found that my kids really and truly do not notice that there are not mountains of toys under the tree. It makes them enjoy the things that they get more, rather then just opening them up and throwing them off to the side. I also have found that it makes them take care of those things better throughout the entire year.
* Shop Online: Around the holidays, stores spend a lot of time and money on merchandising. This means when you walk into any store, it is like walking into a living, interactive advertisement for everything you never knew you needed to make this the most magical Christmas ever! This makes it really tempting to throw all kinds of little “extras” into your cart that end up equalling to a blown budget. For this reason, I have started doing as much of my Christmas shopping, online as possible. Shopping online, requires you to actually think and search for the items that you need, making it a lot less distracting then shopping at a store.
* Be Smart With Christmas Bonuses: A lot of employers give out Christmas Bonuses this time of year. It is easy to see this as “free money” that can be blown on whatever you want. This year, before you start spending your Christmas Bonus, take some time to look at all of your options. Budget out how much money you really need to spend of that Christmas Bonus and then plan to save or invest the remaining balance. This can be a smart move that can benefit you and your family financially, long after the holiday season has faded away. With Guaranteed Income — For Life, gone are the days that individuals could feel safe depending on employer pensions and social security as their retirement plan. Taking the initiative to save every little bit of extra income, is a wise choice.
If you do decide to save or invest a portion of your Christmas Bonus, the pros at Genworth Financial can help! They have provided a valuable resource for financial planning called, “Source For Everything Retirement.”
This website gives you an excellent first step to creating a retirement savings plan. It answers common questions, gives helpful advice and even provides interactive worksheets for financial planning.
With a little bit of planning, budgeting and creativity you can make this holiday season one to remember because of the special
memories that you created and not because of the bills that you are paying on well into the New Year!
Leanne Cox is a guest writer for CleverHousewife.com. She is a stay-at-home mom to two kids, and a credentialed preschool teacher. Leanne teaches “mommy-and-me” and “preschool style” music & movement classes through her business “Little Stars Music & Movement Classes” . She is passionate about encouraging early childhood education through hands on learning and exploration