As the holidays approach, it’s good to take a moment to think about those things in our lives that fill us with gratitude. Ordinarily, we are so busy with our daily lives that the simplest joys of life often slip under the radar. There may still be monthly bills on the table, but set aside those concerns long enough to consider four reasons to give thanks this November:
1. The elections are over. After more than a year of campaigning and political ads, we’re glad to see it come to an end. Let’s hope that our newly-elected and returning officials can roll up their sleeves and get to work!
2. We are grateful for the health of family and friends, and the opportunity we all have this time of year to spend quality time with loved ones. For many, Thanksgiving is a day off from work, which means you can eat and nap to your heart’s content.
3. Speaking of eating, Thanksgiving is always associated with delicious food. This season is officially the end of any diet you may be on for the year, but New Year’s resolutions will start soon enough. Tasty food doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can still make a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner on a budget.
4. We are grateful that there is still time to make a plan that will allow you to stay in control of your budget as Christmas approaches. Retailers may be urging you to spend all you have and charge even more, but this is the most important time of year to leave your credit cards at home. Decorations and presents will tempt, but they are not worth a mountain of debt.
Here are some tips for surviving the holidays:
- As you prepare for Christmas shopping, make plans to spend only what you can afford to pay for in cash: analyze exactly how much money you have to spare and divide that by the number of people you wish to buy for. This will encourage you to both consider how many presents you can afford as well as force you into staying within a specific price range for each person.
- Instead of buying new decorations now, use the old ones for one more year and then get ready for the next Christmas by buying decorations for 50% – 75% off in the days after Christmas.
- Black Friday sales can give you a way to save money, but beware of the traps. Stores typically advertise one or two phenomenal deals surrounded by twenty not-so-great ones. If you shop smart, this can be a great money-saving opportunity, but only if you avoid the flat screen TVs that may be “on sale” but are still too expensive to be worthwhile.
- Be wary of the uptick in fraud, credit card and identity theft, as the ghouls that come out on Halloween don’t go in until after the holidays.
Thanksgiving is a joyful time. We each have a lot to be thankful for, and here at Ovation, we are grateful to all of you for letting us be a part of your journey to better finances. We hope you have a wonderful holiday. Get some much-needed rest this Turkey Day, monitor your spending, and feel free to eat more than you should.