YOUR MONEY: SAVE FOR HOLIDAYS NOW, SKIP REGRET LATER
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #520
Factoring holiday expenses into your budget all year long is effective for avoiding debt, but it’s not always feasible with a limited budget or unforeseen expenses.

When that’s the case, lacking a strategy for holiday spending can leave you vulnerable to debt and overspending that delays financial goals. But it’s not too late to come up with a last-minute plan to save money for the holidays.

The small end-of-the-year window can offer some time to make money moves that help prevent a holiday debt hangover.

ALIGN YOUR HOLIDAY BUDGET WITH FINANCIAL GOALS

When determining how much to spend over the holidays, begin with your budget, suggests Jason Speciner, a certified financial planner at the firm Financial Planning Fort Collins.

“Start with how much money you’re willing to spend — and able to spend — on gift-giving and then work your list into that,” he says. “Don’t put the cart before the horse and end up overspending because you’ve, you know, put dozens of people on your gift list,” he says.

If your debt or budget leaves no room for holiday expenses, plan to spend time with people through free holiday activities, make gifts or save with a secret gift exchange. Set expectations early by alerting people to your plans.

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