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Fall 2019 Edition

How To Avoid Holiday Debt

Financial Health

According to financial experts, the average American family racks up more debt during the holidays than in any other season. Think you’ll pay off all of those holiday credit card charges by February? Think again. Financial experts say it takes most people six to 18 months to pay off their holiday credit card bills.

It seems to be especially hard for some people not to overspend during the holidays because of an emotional need to express love, appreciation and friendship. Below are strategies and spending tips to help you eliminate overspending and prevent a financial “holiday hangover.” Here’s what to do:

1. Set a budget and do not exceed it. Set an overall budget for all holiday spending and do not exceed it, under any circumstances. This is the amount you can afford to spend on the holidays, without going into debt.

2. Create a written spending plan. Create a written plan for holiday spending and gift giving a month or two in advance of the holidays. Be sure to include all holiday spending including gifts, wrapping paper, cards, party supplies, wardrobe, food, etc. Estimate the cost of each planned expenditure. If the total exceeds your allocated budget, delete, revise or rethink your projected purchases until the budget covers all expenditures. Finalize a written shopping list of projected holiday expenditures.

3. Bring your shopping list. Enter a store only when you have your shopping list and the total amount you plan to spend. Review your spending at the end of each shopping day. If you overspend in one area, deduct that amount from another area you had planned to spend money on.

4. Treat credit card purchases as part of your total budget. Your goal this year is to avoid holiday debt, so any purchases made by credit card must be subtracted from your budget, just as you would account for a check or cash purchase.

5. Plan ahead for next year. Open a holiday savings account in January and save for holiday spending year ‘round. Save a specific amount of cash each month throughout the year. You’ll have a great head start on your holiday budget.

Help for financial issues

Remember, your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help you or your immediate family members with your personal, family or work-related issues, including financial concerns. We’re here to help you.


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Disclaimer: This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters. Please consult your physician for medical advice.