Top 5 Ways to Spend Less This Holiday Season
While the holidays should be a joyous time for all, unfortunately, financial pressures can make this time of the year stressful and depressing for many. There are countless ways, however, to stop holiday spending from spiraling out of control in order to get back to the true meaning of the season.
As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I -- along with my team -- often play the role of financial advisor to many clients. After all, owning a home is most likely the biggest investment you'll make, so being prudent regarding spending is a must ... especially in today's economy.
There are many great organizations out there that offer wonderful advice on managing your finances, such as The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit entity dedicated to helping distressed homeowners navigate financial challenges (www.995hope.org). HPF offers the following great tips for curbing holiday spending:
- The number-one rule of financial management is creating a budget and the holidays are no exception. Instead of just random spending, create a detailed budget for gifts, travel, entertaining, cards, decorating, etc. Create a budget for each person on your shopping list and don't go over it.
- Stick to this budget by only taking cash, not credit cards, with you when you shop. This will help you avoid impulse purchases.
- Avoid the expense of the office grab bag or Yankee swap by suggesting your employer make a donation to a local charity instead; ask employees to contribute gently used clothing, canned goods, winter coats, etc. This will not only save everyone money but emphasizes the true spirit of the season.
- If this is your first year in a new home, don't feel pressured to invest in a full set of ornaments for your tree. Collect those gradually over the years and, in the meantime, decorate with paper snowflakes, popcorn and cranberry garlands, spraypainted pine cones, and other homemade ornaments. The effect will be charming and memorable for years to come.
- Streamline the preparations and costs of your holiday get-togethers by sticking to appetizers only. Ask everyone to bring an hors d'oeuvre and serve beer and wine only.
Not only will the above tips help you spend less, but they will help eliminate many of the common stresses that accompany the holiday so that you can truly enjoy the season with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail our team for more cost-saving ideas and please forward this information to others ... after all, we could all benefit from spending less this year!
Jean Gillin & Le-Ann Vicquery
Coach Realtors, Inc.