Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't Blow It

Retail sales are up this holiday so far and that's a good thing for the economy.

But what's good on a macro level is not always good on a micro level. If you are someone who finds herself in serious debt come the first of the year due to holiday overspending (or seriously overweight due to holiday overeating!), here are some moderation tips from personal finance author Dani Johnson, author of "First Steps to Wealth."

Cut down on your activity level: Stop feeling obligated to attend every party. If you normally commit to 15 holiday events between work and family, cut it down and only attend half -- the most important ones. Give yourself permission to be in control and remember it is okay to say “no.”
Stop buying gifts nobody needs: Make a pact with your friends and family to give back instead. Pool a percentage of the money you were going to spend on gifts and give a “secret blessing” to somebody who is truly need. Bringing food to a family in need will cost much less than buying gifts.
Set attainable New Year's resolutions: Make sure you are aiming high but being realistic. Use the time off to organize your finances and plan for the year ahead. Knowing where you stand financially dramatically decreases stress.
Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving: I am not talking about a flat screen TV. Pay off your debt! You will feel better about yourself and set the stage for a great year ahead.


  1. Such great ideas, Karen! I especially like the one about paying off debt.

    For several years now, instead of a basket of food or something else they don't need that wastes my money, for business gifts I give to a charity in my client's name. I try to choose a charity that I either know they appreciate or I think they will. For example, my main client is a grocery chain and I give to Heifer International in their name, because Heifer teaches people how to provide food for their families.

  2. That's a great idea, Petrea. I did a column a few years back on client gifting and I thought that the charitable donation was a good alternative.