If you are like most Americans, you used a credit card for the majority of your holiday shopping. If you are able to pay off the entire balance when the credit card statement comes this month, give yourself an A+. Everyone else - consider some of the following ideas:
1. Holiday Expense Worksheet: Complete this worksheet and prepare to be amazed. When you add in christmas cards, postage, special meals, travel, decorations, etc..., the true cost of the holidays is revealed. Knowledge is power.
2. Save for the next round: Take your total from the worksheet above and divide it by 10. This is the amount you should be saving each month - beginning NOW and ending in OCTOBER.
3. Save it somewhere safe: Save your money in a free savings account or a 'Christmas club' account. If your bank does not offer either of these, check with a local credit union.
4. An InstaBudget for 2013: Once Black Friday rolls around, you will have last year's worksheet to use as a budget guide.
What if you can't save enough each month to cover the 2013 holidays? Then there is likely a bigger problem and a more complicated answer. You may need to increase your income, decrease your expenses, stick to a budget or get credit counseling. The point is, do not ignore the problem, face it. Otherwise, the elephant in the room will grow larger over time.
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Registered Principal, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Wilcox Financial Advisors, s.c. are not affiliated. Wilcox Financial Advisors, s.c., is located at 10521 West Layton Avenue, Suite 200, Greenfield, Wisconsin 53228. www.laurawilcox.info
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