Suzanne Klenk from WSECU shared a five-step plan to keep finances in good health through the holidays and into the new year.
WSECU offers an array of financial wellness workshops
Here's Suzanne's five-step plan:
Step One: Set a spending cap
It’s important to take a realistic look at your finances and decide what you are able to spend… NOW. Make a pact as a family to stick to that number. Accountability is huge, so agree not to go over that number unless you discuss it. That will help you avoid emotional and impulse purchases.
Step Two: Make a gift list
Decide whom you will buy gifts for. List children and grandchildren first, then adults. Decide what you will buy ahead of time. Remember to set realistic expectations, especially for kids. Do not go shopping without your list!
Step Three: Parties/gift exchanges
These can make a huge dent in your budget. Plan for it by setting a limit based on your available time. It’s ok to say “I’d love to attend, but we are already made plans for that evening”. If you do plan to say yes, get ready now. One suggestion: take 5 of your favorite recipes, print them out on nice little cards and tie them up with a bow. Make a few sets and set them aside for an instant exchange gift or hostess gift. If you're invited to a potluck, bring your dish and the recipe for that dish.
Step Four: Travel plans
Travel is expensive both in dollars and time. If you are flying, you have most likely already purchased those tickets, but keep that cost in mind when adding gifts. Maybe this year, your ability to be there can be your gift.
Step Five: Get a head start on 2018
Thanksgiving and Christmas come the same time every year. Start a savings account. Figure out how much you spent this year and divide that by 12. Deposit 1/12th of that amount in a holiday savings account each month to give you a less stressful 2018 holiday season.
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