(WHTM) — This can be a stressful time of year for many. Seven in ten Americans overspend during the holidays, and we have tips to prevent you from being one of them.
“People are looking to make up for lost time. Last holiday season they didn’t get to celebrate how they wanted and they want to make this holiday season extra special,” financial expert Ashley Feinstein Gerstley said.
Gerstley is the founder of the Fiscal Femme, she helps women manage their money. She says it’s easy to overspend this time of year.
“Map out what your spending will look like each month before and after the holidays. Pacing ourselves will help us create realistic monthly budgets,” she said.
Next, she says be careful with things bought on credit, whether it’s a card or a pay-over-time service.
“If we are financing something using interest we want to look at an interest calculator to see what that total cost is of purchasing something as well as how much we’re paying in interest,” she said.
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It’s also important to know what type of interest you’re paying.
Simple interest covers the primary balance. Compound interest is charged not only on that primary balance but also on interest and other fees accumulated over time. Deferred interest is where you have no interest payments for a set amount of time, but after that expires interest charges kick in. And they can be hefty.
“When we make our holiday budget we want to think about all the different things we spend money on. If we’re hosting there are the party supplies, there’s host gifts, there’s outfits we get for the holiday parties, there’s travel to family, we might go ice skating. We want to look at all of these things holistically and decide consciously what we want to spend on and what we want to splurge on, and what we want to take out of the budget,” Gerstley said.
Finally, as Gerstley says, “what you buy matters.” In the end, you want to be happy with what you’re spending your money on.
“With every purchase that we make we have the opportunity to invest in the world we want to see and to align our spending with our values, ” she said.
That could mean buying something from a small business, a minority-owned business or one committed to the environment.
On average, Americans plan to spend $800 on gifts this year. But again, spend only what you can afford.