Don't Get Wiped Out in Holiday Spending!

Budgeting, Spending Wisely Can Avoid Financial Hangover In January

Homeport Senior Counseling Advisor Layden Hale says the financial nausea many consumers feel after the holidays is a lot like the old “I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing” Alka-Seltzer commercial.

Many consumers exercise little spending control once Black Friday inaugurates Holiday Season “sales.” Come January, their financial pain is like the upset stomach of the overeating man in the antacid commercial, Hale said.  

In January, Homeport will offer a 10-hour course on financial fitness, including educating individuals on how to better prepare for the 2015 Holiday Season.

In the meantime, Homeport counselors have suggestions on how to reduce damage this season if you have not planned your spending:

  • Use cash only when shopping.
  • Limit yourself to using one credit card if necessary.
  • Comparatively search the internet for sales on a product you want.

Carrying cash only for spending – leaving credit cards at home – reduces impulse buys, says Netta Whitman, a HUD-certified financial advisor and assistant director for Homeport’s Housing Advisory Center.

 “It becomes harder to spend when you see the money dwindling away,” Hale concurs.

Leaving home with a single credit card at least creates a debt ceiling, whereas if you are carrying multiple cards you risk significantly adding to your debt as you fail to resist purchasing gifts for yourself, relatives, friends and co-workers.

Comparative shopping on the internet can be beneficial. While the word “Sale” might be tempting, you might surprise yourself with a cheaper buy by looking at what other stores or companies are pricing a product, particularly high-end electronics.

One of the best ways to control your urges is to develop a holiday season spending plan, identifying the likely cost for presents, decorations and food.

Whitman and Hale say when planning, budgeting and buying, one should purchase with a question in mind: “Is it a need or want?”

In many cases, people buy things that are not needed but spend the rest of the year paying it off, Hale said.

To get your finances in shape, Homeport offers free, 10-hour workshops on money management and consumer skills. Call 614-221-8889 extension 134 to schedule a class or discuss other financial fitness programs, or Click Here.