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Financial Health for the Holidays

Randy DeVaul

Posted on November 13, 2018 19:06

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Is this the season of giving or the season of entitlement? Is this the season to show love and peace or the season that causes stress and frustration? Keep your financial health this year by following basic gift-giving and spending principles.

Another holiday season is upon us. Merchants do their best to get you to spend your money with them. That is not bad but it gets dangerous when we want to spend more than we have on things no one needs or wants.

Below is some basic wisdom related to budgets, spending, and debt that will help keep a handle on finances while lowering holiday stress.

First, gift-giving is about the thought and act of giving itself. Equating the value of the gift with how much we think of someone or how much that someone will think of us, is what gets us in trouble. We are over-saturated with ‘stuff.’  Every year we try to out-do the year before and yet, the gift recipients are not satisfied with what they have been given. There is too much emphasis on ‘ask and you shall receive’ rather than ‘do unto others’ and ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’ Re-focus on why you are giving and what really matters when you give.

Maybe we can get the government agencies to review the rest of these tips, as well, eh?

Make a budget. Write down on paper how much money comes in, what absolutely has to go out, and what is left over. For some of us, we’ll show more going out than coming in. Clearly, that is a problem and requires a change.

Use only one credit card and, preferably, pay cash. Except for a house, whatever it is you want to buy can wait until you have the money to buy it. Put money aside for emergencies and the holidays. Remember those now outdated Christmas Clubs at banks? They really don’t pay anything significant on interest but they do help you put money away and out of sight to better prepare for this time of year.

Freeze current spending. Here’s a novel concept. Democrats want to raise taxes to pay for “free” programs. We can’t raise revenues in our households that way.  Spending has to stop and special interest costs have to go away – in government and at home. How do we freeze current spending? Eat at home more and out less. Take lunch to school and work rather than buying it. Buy what you’ll use rather than the so-called ‘bulk’ buying – which we have learned in many instances still costs more per unit price than just buying a single item.

Do not over-buy. In other words, the days of trying to keep up with the Jones’ is over since the Jones’ have already filed for bankruptcy. Buy what you can afford. A used compact car gets you to the store at the same time as the luxury import and uses less fuel. Generic food is packed in the same place as the name-brand food, just with a different label.

Remember, what you spend this month must be paid next month unless you pay with cash. Spending wisely reduces your waste and your financial stress.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on November 13, 2018 19:06

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Source: Quartz
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Day 19 of Quartz's 25 Days of Exchange John Ruhlin gives gifts for a living, and says most companies are doing it wrong....

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