Make the Holiday Season a Time to be Blessed and not Stressed

Photo courtesy of The Shifted Librarian @ flickr

Shopping by the Shifted Librarian - flickr

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now behind us and Christmas is quickly approaching. The retailers have been successful in attracting us to spend, spend and spend. Were you prepared? Are you ready? Unfortunately, many of us are still paying for last year’s holiday season or are about to pay for this year’s holiday way past next year’s season. Every year we try to stick to a budget on our own but end up struggling – or in some cases, defeated.

What are you doing differently this year to prevent the “After Holiday Blues” of new financial debt? Here is some advice to consider along the way:

Make a list and check it twice! Can you create a list well in advance of your shopping trip that states what you plan to purchase this holiday season? The categories it should include are items like: meals, travel, outings, decorations, entertainment and gifts. After this list is made, place a dollar amount next to each category and ask yourself  “Do I have the money in my savings account to cover everything on my list?” If the answer is yes, then CONGRATULATIONS! But if the money isn’t there then you need to check your list twice and plan for it, curtail it or forget it. For certain, if we overspend, borrow, or charge our way through the season, the bank account will surely tell us if we’ve been naughty and not so nice.

If paying with cash isn’t part of the plan this year but using credit wisely is your strategy, then make sure to use a credit card or a line of credit with a low interest rate and minimum fees. Right now at Mid-Illini Credit Union you can “Get Out of Debt” with our MICU Visa credit card. There are no Balance Transfer Fees or an Annual Fee. Or, get a Happy Holidays Loan and take a year to repay at a lower rate than other options you may have (go to www.midillinicu.com for details).

The good news is it’s not too late to share the gift of giving and when the time comes, you can honestly say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas – and mean it.

Let us all be thankful for what we have been given. If you like this information or have other thoughts on how to save money and would like to share and participate in the season of giving, then please post your comment for everyone to see!

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