Holiday spending: Do you have a plan?

Take the holiday savings challenge.

The holiday season is fast approaching, have you started shopping yet? According to the annual holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), in 2014, more consumers reported lower intended holiday spending compared to 2013 and this year 33 percent said they would spend less. Do you plan to spend less this holiday season? Are you up for a Holiday challenge?

America Saves is challenging consumers to save $1 for every dollar spent this holiday season. America Saves offers the following ways to accept the challenge of saving this holiday season:

  1. Make your list and check it twice. Develop a holiday list or spending plan and be honest about the dollar amount you plan to spend. Include gifts, food, decorations as well as personal expenses such as mani/pedi, hair salon, etc.
  2. Prioritize and negotiate. Be sure to allocate the items on your list as needs versus wants and revise if needed.
  3. Tally it up and set your savings goal. Add up the expenses of your holiday list, and be sure your total is realistic and manageable so that you are not in more debt than you can afford after the holidays.
  4. Make it automatic. When you cross an item off the list, set up a transfer from your checking account into a savings account, possibly a Holiday savings account to be used for next year’s holiday expenses.

You can take the America Saves Pledge to make your commitment real. If you create a spending plan for the holidays and be diligent in sticking to your plan, you can survive the holiday season without being buried in unintentional debt.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial literacy and homeownership workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. For more information of classes in your area, go to either the MSU Extension events page or the MI Money Health website. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health.

Michigan State University Extension has released a new toolkit for homeowners who are experiencing or have previously experienced foreclosure. This toolkit will equip these individuals and families with tools to help them recover their financial stability, in the case that a recovery of their home is not possible. The toolkit is available to download free at the MI Money Health website.

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