Holiday Temptations that can put you into Debt

Holiday festivities are in the air.  Many of us plan to host dinners, parties, and get-togethers with friends and loved ones. Hosting these spectacular events can be exhausting, yet exhilarating. Unfortunately, many people find themselves mourning their high credit card bills in the aftermath of the holidays. Before you agree to take over the family Christmas, Hanukkah, college bowl party, or other end of year celebration, consider these three tips that can keep you in the life of the party without wreaking havoc on your 2018 finances.

TIP #1 Think Ahead
A little planning can pay dividends! First, organize and review your existing stash of holiday décor, table settings, and platters.  Then consider how you can modernize, improve, or add a little pizazz without starting over from scratch. Second, consider what you will need to purchase or rent in order to create the right ambience and feel for your festivities.  Third, consider any entertainment you wish to provide.  This can be as simple as holiday games and riddles to play, or you can kick it up a notch and provide a band and dance floor as you envision partying the night away. Lastly, consider how many gifts you may need to provide to your guests.  Many people do a small gift exchange, while other families buy presents for everyone attending.  Knowing how many gifts you need, will help you successfully complete TIP #2.

TIP #2 Set Your Budget
Setting a budget is a critical component to managing your spending habits and cutting your credit card debt.  This may require a little research as you get real-time costs for purchases such as ingredients, drinks, and catering services. Don’t forget to add in the costs for decorations, invitations (if you formally invite), and any gifts that need to be purchased. If you have time, try comparison shopping for the large food and beverage purchases.  This can prevent  overspending. 

TIP #3 Be Honest With Yourself
Honesty can be a fleeting thing when it comes to party planning!  As you dream of your perfect party, you may find yourself overspending because you simply had to have that last minute item. Before you begin shopping, be honest with yourself about your spending triggers and bad habits.  If you find that you buy more food when you go to the store hungry, then make sure you eat before you begin shopping.  If “sale” items are your weakness, then decide how many “splurge” items you will allow for yourself and put their predicted costs into your budget.  Take time to enjoy and relish in the planning and creation of your incredible get-together. Keeping credit card debt low doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little indulgence.  Simply plan for it and make sure you have the money to truly enjoy it long after the holiday.
Happy Holidays!

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