Recently I stepped foot on our scale at home and wished it, like a clock, had a fallback feature. The results didn’t reflect well on me, and I knew I needed to make a few changes. Add in the holiday glut, and it’s shaping up to be a true struggle of the will.
Many of us also struggle controlling our spending during the holiday season. Retail bombards us.
Children look greedily for presents. Charities ask for a double portion of our giving spirit. It can be very easy to go overboard.
Like weight control, there is no magic pill that will instantly cure out-of-control spending.
One popular solution is to finance our way out of debt. We max out credit cards spending what we don’t have on what we don’t need, and when we realize we can’t pay, we borrow against our assets. Without appropriate discipline, this strategy becomes a never-ending debt cycle.
A disciplined approach alone holds the key to fighting your way out of the debt cycle. As much as we might want it to be different, the Rolling Stones were right when they sang, “you can’t always get what you want.” This can be difficult to accept when we think about the smiles and joy all that stuff might bring. Here are three tips I would encourage you to consider. Hopefully these will help you avoid a visit to the bank after the holidays to finance your way out.
1) Put it in a budget. One of the surest ways to keep weight gain to a minimum is to track consumption and measure it against a baseline for what ought to be consumed. It is the same with money. If we track and monitor, we’re less likely to spend. Set a limit and stick to it even when that great “deal” pops up.
2) If you can, sleep on it. Occasionally that great “deal” catches our eye, and we think it might just be the ticket item of the year. Before busting the budget, take a moment to mull it over. I find leaving the store or shutting the computer helps. You might find another way. Don’t come back to it until the next day. If it is still a must, then find a way to rearrange the dollars so you’re still within your budget above.
3) Plan ahead by opening a new savings account January 3, 2022. On the first business day next year stop by to open a club account. The club account offers a savings option without the temptation to withdraw the money throughout the year. Toward the end of the year, we’ll cut you a check for the balance of the account. This usually happens in October. If you save $25 per week, you’ll have at least $1,000 saved up for the holidays.
Thanks for your patience while I weighed in on this subject. Hope you find these helpful in tipping the financial scales in your direction.
Joshua Riggins is the president of Farmers & Mechanics Federal Bank in Bloomfield, and is committed to providing customers with a reliable and competent banking experience.