It's Not too Early to Plan for Your 2015 Holiday Spending

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If you are still looking for that “New Year’s Resolution” for 2015, I can help! Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be prepared for the holiday season before it actually arrives? You might be thinking, “We just celebrated the holidays, why is she bringing it up now? “I’m bringing it up now because it’s never too early to start planning. In fact, by planning early, setting priorities and establishing a budget, you can be assured that you will celebrate the 2015 holiday season with less stress and peace of mind. So let’s get started!

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The first step in the process is determining how much you can afford to spend. Since the 2014 holiday season is just behind us a good indicator might be to review what you spent last year. If you used credit cards and dipped into emergency savings to purchase items, then you may want to reduce the amount you will spend this year. Know your limits on what you can afford.
The next step in the process is Setting Your Priorities. With the holiday dollar limited, focus on what is most important to you and your family.  Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, celebrating religious beliefs, decorating your home or helping the less fortunate, it will be important to prioritize and allocate your spending dollars to what is most important to you.
The most important step in smart holiday planning is to create a budget. List the areas in which you will spend money and assign a dollar amount to each of those areas.  Be realistic or you will be tempted to change the budget midway and defeat the purpose of a budget. Be sure you are including expenses for not only holiday gifts but for holiday travel, holiday meals & entertainments as well as the miscellaneous expenses such as tree, decorations, cards & invitations and wrapping supplies.
Now that you have determined what is necessary for your Holiday Season, let’s discuss how you will save for those expenses.
One of the easiest ways to save is to open up a holiday savings account at your local bank or credit union. Consider enrolling in payroll deduction, it’s simple and you won’t even miss the money because it will be in your holiday savings account before you even see it! Let’s say my holiday spending budget was $650, I was paid weekly and I want to have the entire $650 saved by the end of November (45 weeks away) I would need to have $15/week direct deposited into my holiday savings account to meet my goal. If that doesn’t work for you, consider the following suggestions as a way to accomplish your goal:
Find extra cash by reducing or eliminating dining out, making your coffee at home, renting a movie instead of going to the theater, cancel unused gym memberships or extra pay channels on your cable TV. Any savings in the areas above should be deposited into your holiday savings account.
Consider having a yard sale. By selling unused or unwanted items, you will not only “de-clutter” your home, but you will give your “stuff” a new life with a new owner, and increase the amount you have available to deposit into your holiday savings account.
No matter what method you choose to prepare for your 2015 holiday savings, remember this…..
“Be stubborn on your goals and flexible about your methods”
Best of luck!  I know you can do it!

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