Before you eat, shop and drop a bundle of cash consider these 5 money tips for Thanksgiving and the holidays.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have recently become part of the Thanksgiving tradition, right up there with hometown football games, dinner with the crazy aunt, and gorging on leftovers for days. In fact, some studies show that 60% of consumers will spend more than half of their holiday budget over the Thanksgiving weekend.
1. Them or you.
The holidays offer many ways to burn through extra cash. Keep in mind that they only last a few weeks, but your retirement will likely last a few decades. The old saying still has merit—pay yourself first. Sock away some of that bonus for the future and earmark a percentage of your raise towards retirement savings – if you’re lucky to have one or the other or both. Then you can enjoy spending some of your extra funds during the season while still contributing to your overall financial security.
2. Emotional buying.
You love your family and friends, and the kids have been so good this year (or so you like to think)! Who isn’t tempted by the vision of piles of gifts under the perfect tree, the most festive decorations, and the best holiday feast ever? These images surround us during the holidays, but nostalgia and sentiment can be very dangerous to your finances if they make you spend more than you can reasonably afford.
3. Budget like you mean it.
Not creating a budget for the season is a common financial mistake. It can result in overspending cash, running up credit card balances, and lots of stress when the January bills pile up. Decide how much you want to spend and devise a strategy to stick to your budget. Make sure to plan for all non-gift expenses as well, including décor, food, and travel.
4. Attention savvy shoppers.
Retailers rely on your holiday dollars, and they use both sales and rebates to get you into the mood to spend. Before you shop, especially for big ticket items, do your research. Get a sense of everyday prices, and be prepared to follow through on rebates.
5. Stick to the plan.
Your portfolio should be focused not on the revenues of big weekends or holiday bumps, but on a long-term comprehensive wealth management strategy. A well-balanced, carefully implemented financial plan can help you reach your long-term goals. And let’s face it, that’s the best holiday gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.
Enjoy the holidays and the memories
Please don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to be hermit or a Scrooge at this time of year. But you owe it to yourself and your family to not just have fun now but to set aside for future spending in retirement or some other big goal. For guidance regarding your personal finances or a second-opinion and financial wellness checkup, please contact Steve Stanganelli.