Three Tips for Managing Holiday Debt  

You probably know someone who is extremely smart with their money. This person has a careful budget and saves all year to have a lump sum to use for holiday gift shopping. They might even keep this money and take advantage of clearance sales after the holidays are over and purchase gifts a whole year in advance! They don't experience the last minute crunch and have to scramble around trying to figure out how to pay for holiday expenses. 

If this isn't you, you aren't alone! 

According to a USA Today article:
  • "…77% of the 2,000 people surveyed expect to exceed their budget and only 37% will put a post-holiday budget plan in place to recover. 

    About one-third of U.S. shoppers (33%) have made holiday shopping a year-round event, buying whenever they find the right gift, according to the survey. Many of those early birds (27%) make their purchases when the item they are looking for goes on sale and 7% said they complete all of their shopping before Thanksgiving. Only about 12% of shoppers said they plan to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, while 14% define themselves as "last-minute shoppers."
Here are three ways to take the financial sting out of gift buying and holiday travel plans:
  1. Take advantage of low- or no-interest introductory offers. If you have good to excellent credit, you can often get access to an account that lets you make purchases at a low or zero interest rate. If you pay it off during the introductory period, your overall cost is very low.
  2. Look into a holiday loan. It is always wise to be careful about taking on new debt, but if you are tight on cash it can make sense to use a short-term loan with a fixed monthly payment rather than put the purchases on a credit card and let the balance run on forever when you make minimum payments.
  3. Be creative with non-traditional gifts. Sometimes "outside the box" gifts are the most appreciated. Things like gifts of time together doing something meaningful that doesn't cost a lot of money can mean a lot more than the expensive "wine of the month" gift membership or a pair of fancy yoga pants. It can take a little more time to think about what you can do with this person you love, but it often means that you both get more of what you really want—and save money in the process.
As usual, I advise caution about using debt to cover holiday purchases. These things should fit well into your financial plan and cash flow to avoid painful long-term consequences. If you would like to check in with me about how using credit will affect your overall picture and future housing plans, please do that! 

Send me an email or give me a call to discuss any of this. I would love to hear from you. 

Article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/10/12/most-americans-set-then-exceed-a-holiday-budget/106520828/

 

Information provided by Synovus Mortgage