Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Helpful Holiday Hints!

Santa makes his list and checks it twice, and so should you! It’s easy to let your finances run away with themselves during the holiday season. If you’re a giver like me, the best part of the holiday's is buying gifts for those you love and watching them tear the boxes open! The following are some helpful hints that will allow you to shop worry-free and not have that ‘buyer’s remorse’ feeling as soon as you leave the mall.

First off, make yourself a list before heading out (and check it twice). This way, you have time to think about ‘whom’ you need to buy for and ‘what’ you’d like to get them. It’s too hard to remember everyone and be creative, or thoughtful, with your gift ideas when you’re bogged down with the hustle and bustle inside the busy mall. Making your list before-hand ensures that you go in with a game plan and you stick to it, eliminating unnecessary buying.

Secondly, take a look inside your wallet before leaving the house. Is it full of that plastic money and not the kind that folds? This is a rookie mistake for holiday shopping. It’s just too easy to pull out the credit card if it’s available! If you’ve got the cash why slap it on your credit card when you’ll just have to pay it off later? Do some math before leaving the house, head to the bank, and pull out what you’ve budgeted yourself to spend.

Now you’ve eliminated the piles of credit card bills from rolling in the next month! If you absolutely must use a credit card and you’ve got more than one, know your limit as well as your interest rate! Use the card with the best benefits for you, to avoid any overspending or high interest penalties. Although, keep in mind that if you're one of those people who enjoys their rewards cards, like I do, use the card that has the most rewards points available per dollar amount on your purchases. This way, you can get yourself something nice after the holidays...and maybe even for free!

Last but not least, do your homework. Don’t go around spending your hard earned dough on that expensive gift, without knowing your options first. Use the internet to your advantage and price out some places on that particular product. Things like TV’s, navi-systems, Xbox’s and cell phones are certainly ones you would want to price out on websites like amazon.com before rushing to your local entertainment store.

The holiday’s don’t have to feel like a ball & chain when it comes to your finances; it’s supposed to be, and can be, a Happy Holiday!