The holiday season is a time for celebration and merriment, but can also be a source of financial stress. Holiday meals, entertaining, and gift-giving all have the potential to put us in a great amount of debt that can put a damper on our holiday fun. Let’s remember to spend wisely this season and make the new year a successful one!

When shopping for meals, make a list of what is necessary for the meal and stick to your list. Always make use of coupons and store deals when grocery shopping. If someone offers to bring a dish, or assist in preparation, say yes! It will benefit your wallet and sanity to accept help when offered.

If you are planning on giving gifts this year, consider starting a less expensive tradition such as group outings. Gifts are not always necessary in making the holiday joyous. If you decide to buy gifts, reduce costs by arranging a gift-swap. Consider spending less and making your gift more meaningful.

When shopping in person, try to use debit or cash. When shopping online, always use a credit card. Remember, you have the opportunity to view your statement before you pay anything. Always spend within your means and take advantage of sales.

In summary, make it your goal this holiday season to ring in the new year with no new debt. Consider the tips below.

Did You Know?

  • Interest adds up! $5,000 balance at a 15% interest rate:
    • Total charged: $5,000
    • Monthly payment: $250
    • Payoff time: 24 months
    • Total debt paid: $6,000
  • The National Retail Federation reports Americans spent an average $730 on gifts, food, decorations and other holiday-related purchases in 2013.
  • 15.4% of retailers in 2013 began holiday sales on October 1st (Statista).

Tips for a Debt Free New Year

  1. Open a holiday account at a credit union or bank
  2. Start shopping earlier to spread costs over the year
  3. Live within your paycheck month to month
  4. Create an emergency fund
  5. Pay off carry over debt properly
  6. Move to a cash based spending plan

Sources: Stephen Hannan, Statista, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.