We know what you’re thinking, the holidays aren’t for a while, but that’s the lie we all believe. When the holidays start to near, it can be easy to fall behind between family coming into town, preparing for Thanksgiving, shopping for Christmas and getting ready for the New Year. Hustling and bustling between seasons, it can be easy to lose sight of your priorities both personally and financially. Once January hits, you cannot help but think “did I really spend that much on gifts?” or “next year I am going to budget better!”! At Botsford Financial Group, we have found a few simple steps, to align your priorities ahead of time, and help reduce the financial blur of the holiday season. Below are some simple tips to help you stay ahead of the curve this holiday season and prepare for the New Year now!
- Prioritize. The best way to not fall behind or become hassled with finances during the holiday season is to figure out your needs, wants and wishes. Write out what is most important to you, the things you want to purchase in advance this holiday season, along with what you want your holiday budget to realistically look like this holiday season. Create a budget that is realistic and practical. Think back to last season, what last minute items caught you by surprise? Shop around this time, compare costs, and do not get caught over paying because you waited until the last minute. Having a clear vision of “Your Financial holiday House” can put you steps ahead of the game when it comes to budgeting and not falling behind.
- Plan. Creating a shopping strategy to stay on top of your purchasing and not get caught running around at the last minute, or paying top dollar due to lack of options. By creating a plan, you can compare costs and make the best and most cost effective decision. Knowing the amount of money you will spend between each aspect of your life can help take unnecessary hassle off your plate. You will be able to feel confident knowing you got the best item for the best price. There are many reminder apps to help you stay on track. The apps include Any.Do, To Do Reminder and Todoist to name a few. By using these apps you can plan out your purchases and leave time to evaluate each option.
- Purge. Out with the Old. After you plan out your purchases, you may find yourself with extra time to be thrifty. You can recycle decorations from last year or give away decorations you are not planning to use. There are apps like Poshmark, Ebay and even Facebook groups in your area, you can utilize to get out with the old and in with the new! Now, you have less clutter and less hustle, you can feel good about running the extra mile this year knowing that you aren’t creating more boxes for storage.
43% of Americans say that the extra expenses make the holidays hard to enjoy. Following the proactive steps outlined above is a great way to stay organized because being aware of your financial situation allows you to have the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions in the future.* The holiday season for most is a blur, filled with last minute details that feel urgent. This year, when you are feeling overwhelmed by all there is today, and how prices seem to keep going up, remember: Prioritize, Plan and Purge. We look forward to hearing if these tips help you feel on top of the season this year!
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Merit Financial Group, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Merit Financial Group, LLC, Botsford Financial Group and Merit Financial Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial.