During this time of year, you may be facing a lot of stress when it comes to managing your money. You might want to buy gifts for friends and family, but you’re budget might be tighter than usual this year. Or you might be tempted to splurge on a luxurious gift for yourself, but you know you have other obligations that require your resources.
Here to help us work through the holidays and the financial stress that can come along with it is OneUnited Bank President Teri Williams. Here’s her advice for how to keep spending under control during the holidays.
BlackEnterprise.com: How can we avoid overspending during the holidays?
Teri Williams: The holidays can be filled with joy and stress. We can experience wonderful acts of kindness, while also feeling pressured to give beyond our resources. So how can we avoid overspending? Here are some suggestions.
First, try to remember all the gifts you received last year. You probably can’t remember them. Now try to remember a joyful holiday moment. Was it cooking with friends or eating a holiday meal? Seeing family members or long-time friends? Hearing your favorite holiday music? To avoid overspending it’s important to appreciate that the best holiday moments are not purchased, but experienced. By focusing on our experience, such as food, music, and family gatherings, we can avoid the temptation to overspend on expensive gifts.
Second, write down a “wow” gift for each loved one. A “wow” gift is that one gift that will make someone “glow” with excitement. For a child, it may be a special toy or the latest gadget. For an adult, it may be jewelry or something very personalized like a team sweatshirt with their name on it. By focusing our spending on a “wow” gift, we can spend less on other gifts to better manage our total expenses.
Third, reflect on how your money management skills were influenced by your upbringing. Did your family budget expenses? Were they savers or high spenders? To raise financially responsible children, we have to show them good habits. Consider giving a gift to encourage financial literacy such as opening a youth savings account. Consider giving a gift of good credit such as a secured credit card. Consider giving a gift to encourage philanthropy such as a contribution in someone’s name. These gifts help everyone become more financially responsible…which has lifetime benefits.
Finally, remember the needless expensive gift you did not purchase during the holiday season is money saved for 2015! You’ll have a happier New Year!