Sunday, November 4, 2007

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Holiday decorations have been going up in the stores. Volume of holiday catalogues in the mail is increasing noticeably. Halloween is behind us. So what is next? Like it or not - the holidays are approaching! You may love them, dread them or just not care about them - but the next two months have an impact on most people’s bottom line and bottoms (we will discuss this topic in another post).

From a smart money management perspective - preparation is the key. If you plan and prepare for the coming holidays - January might be cold and miserable but financially rewarding. So what does preparation entail?

- Plan Ahead: Figure out what your holiday plans are. Vacation, travel, visits, gifts, timeline etc. How many gifts, what kind of gifts, price range etc. Vacation planning - location, flights, hotels etc. Family visits - who, when, where etc.

- Save Now: Create a savings envelope and start depositing money in it. How much to save? Based on your holiday plans define a budget and divide the budget by weeks left. That will give you the weekly deposit amount required. How to fund this holiday envelope? Easiest option is to reduce some discretionary expense (eating out, entertainment etc). Other options could be extra income - part-time job, bonus, a refund etc. Remember chipping away at the problem is an easier and less painful approach.

- Shop Early: If you know what you want - start looking for deals. Time is on your side so use it to research, compare and find reasonable discounts. If you spread your shopping over a few weeks - you will not only save money, but deal with less crowds and stress. Plan to attend the mega-sales but don't postpone all your shopping for one event.

If you make judicious use of your time now - you could be sweating off those extra pounds in January rather than sweating over your bills.

1 comment:

Cindy Crane said...

I can't believe the holidays are only weeks away. Thanks for the wake-up call and as they say "a stitch in time saves nine".