Nonprofit credit counseling agency helps consumers keep finances in
check during high-cost holiday season
PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and it’s also the most
costly. Consumers often overspend during the holidays, and while most
people intend to pay off holiday debt in January, it’s much easier said
than done. It’s not uncommon for debt to linger months after the
presents are unwrapped.
“The hysteria of the holidays can impact even the most frugal among us,”
said Mike Sullivan, spokesperson, Take Charge America, a national
nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “The
holidays are a time for making memories with friends and family – but
you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the season.
Conscientious giving, combined with willpower and creativity, will make
a huge difference for people trying to keep their costs in check.”
Sullivan offers five tips for saving money during the holidays:
Make a list, and check it twice: Holiday giving is a big
expense, and it’s hard to stick to a budget if you’re scrambling to
find gifts at the last minute. Determine the right present for each
person on your list ahead of time, and avoid the frantic overspending
resulting from poor planning.
Join the DIY movement: Do-it-yourself projects are all the
rage. If you have the time and inclination, consider making gifts for
loved ones. For grandparents, this could mean framing a child’s
artwork, while coworkers might enjoy a hand-stamped mug and homemade
hot cocoa. It’s an opportunity to give a fun and meaningful present
without spending a fortune.
Make a “batteries-not-included” fund: It’s often the little
things that blow the budget – like buying batteries for toys and
electronics, picking up last-minute accouterments for a holiday party
or buying a gift for a neighbor you accidentally left off your list.
No amount of planning will help you avoid these expenses altogether,
so set aside a slush fund to cover the costs.
Draw names: As families grow, so do expenses, and this is
especially true over the holidays. Instead of purchasing gifts for
every last niece, nephew and cousin, draw names and find the perfect
present for just one person. You will be less stressed – financially
and otherwise – and so will the rest of your family.
Be careful how much you’re “saving”: It’s simple to justify
purchases when every last retailer is offering holiday discounts – and
it’s easy to get swept up in the fun and excitement of scoring good
deals – but you’re not really saving money when you buy things you
don’t really need or even want. Second-guess every unplanned purchase
to root out and avoid unwise spending.
For more financial tips, visit the Take
Charge America Financial Education Library.
About Take Charge America, Inc.
Founded in 1987, Take Charge America, Inc. is a nonprofit agency
offering financial education and counseling services, including credit
counseling, debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling
and bankruptcy counseling. It has helped more than 1.6 million consumers
nationwide manage their personal finances and debts. To learn more,
or call (888) 822-9193.
Andrea Aker, 602-339-7339