Have you been financially naughty or nice this holiday season? The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has devised a Financially Naughty or Nice Checklist in an effort to help consumers manage their holiday budgets.
The NFCC wants you to remember that the financial decisions you make during this time of year will follow you for months, maybe even years, if you fail to practice sound money management.
“The positive effects of 11 months of responsible money management can be significantly damaged by one month of overspending,” said Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the NFCC, in a statement.
The NFCC lists the following financial habits to see if you’d be on the financial naughty or nice list. The more you answer “yes” to each question, the closer you are to financial health.
- I have reviewed current living expenses and debt obligations to determine how much money is available for holiday spending.
- I have a gift list and am committed to adhering to it.
- I have an overall holiday budget which includes gifts, decorations, travel and entertaining.
- I am open to creative ways to spend less, such as giving a family gift instead of individual gifts, or when entertaining, having guests bring a dish instead of providing the entire meal.
- I will take the time to utilize online sites and apps to help me find the best prices before I begin shopping.
- To make sure my gift money is not wasted, I will ask a store what their return policy is before making a purchase, and will include a gift receipt when appropriate.
- I will not open new accounts simply to earn a discount, but will first evaluate if that is the proper long-term decision for my situation.
- I will protect myself from loss or theft by not carrying large amounts of cash, and will be aware of potential identity theft when using an ATM.
- If I charge purchases, I commit to paying off the debt in full by the end of March 2015, and am willing to take on a second job or cut spending in order to make this happen.
- I am dedicated to paying cash for holiday expenses next year, and am tracking all holiday-related expenses in order to know how much to save toward that goal.
The NFCC urges those experiencing financial difficulty to contact their local NFCC agency. You can find one by calling (800) 388-2227 or visiting the organization’s website at www.NFCC.org.