Black Friday is almost here. How do you keep your spending in check and avoid going into massive debt? Steve Siebold, a certified financial educator and author of “How Money Works,” suggests the following:
Be logical: It’s easy to get wrapped up in the spirit of the season, but when it comes to buying gifts, let reason be your guide. While your spouse might really like that $1,000 necklace, is that really the smartest move if you don’t have the money?
Plan ahead: Before you head to the store, make a list of each person you need to buy for and allocate a certain amount of money for each. Don’t overspend by even a dollar. Overspending by five dollars here and 10 dollars there adds up quickly and you can easily go into debt.
Be honest: There’s no shame in telling people that this year will be a lean holiday season when it comes to exchanging gifts. People will appreciate your honesty.
Keep your wits about you: If your shopping cart is overflowing, step back, regroup and make sure you can really afford everything you plan to buy. Don’t fall for marketing that makes you feel as if you’re getting a great deal when you’re really not. The key is to be mentally tough to know when enough is enough.
Hold the plastic: Don’t even think of using a credit card unless you are 100 percent sure you can comfortably pay it off at the end of the month. The last thing anyone needs is to get hit with high interest rates and a blemish on their credit score. Would you rather have the short-term satisfaction of expensive material possessions, or the long-term results of financial freedom and abundance?
Learn from the past: Did you overspend last holiday season or some other year in the past? Remember how it set you back financially? Remember how bad it felt when you opened up your credit card statement and realized you couldn’t pay it all? Revisit that pain before you start shopping this holiday season.
Limit charitable giving: Yes, you read that right. Giving a little pocket change to support the homeless this holiday season is one thing. But until you’re financially comfortable yourself, you can’t give what you don’t have.
Make it a teaching moment: Use the holidays as an opportunity to teach kids how money works. Even parents who have failed to reach their financial dreams can still teach their kids important lessons about money.