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How to Avoid the Post-Holiday Financial Blues

By Joan Peterkin

Are you financially prepared for the Holiday

Shopping Season?

Will you be making your purchases with cash or


Do you have a planned amount of money you will be

spending on gifts?

If you owe $5,000 of more on your credit card or

know someone who does, who only pays the minimum

payment each month, you are not alone. The levels

of consumer debt are increasing rapidly around the


A Debt is Not Just for Christmas

Christmas is the time of year when many consumers

fall into the trap of spending too much money on

expensive Christmas gifts. Most of these purchases

are made on credit cards rather than using cash.

This means these consumers often end up with large

credit card debt in the New Year. The New Year is

also the time when bills for other expenses, such

as holidays, school fees and taxes come due.

Credit cards are an expensive convenient source of

money and many people don't realize just how

expensive they can be. Remember gifts purchased

on your credit card that you will not be paying in

full, will become a debt. This debt will be with

you long after Christmas is gone. The most

damaging part of this process is the interest you

pay on your holiday purchases over time will be

more than the cost of the gift. This interest

payment you are making will also become someone

else's investment return.

Tips to Avoid the Post-Holiday Credit Card Blues

1. Make a budget for Christmas spending - add 20%

to the amount and stick to that number.

2. Write a list of everyone you plan to buy

presents for and the amount of money you can

afford to spend on each person's gift.

3. Pay for presents using cash or lay-away rather

than credit cards - if you have to use credit

cards use only one.

4. Use a card with the lowest interest rate and

credit only what you are able to pay off in one

payment or within three months.

5. Give yourself time to shop - avoid last minute

impulse buying of whatever you can get your hands


6. Write down everything you buy for the seasons,

food, decorations, cards etc, and their cost -

keep a running total.

7. Consider opening a Christmas Savings Account,

so that you will be better prepared next year -

for $10 per week, you will be over $500 ahead of

the game next Christmas.

8. Gather all of your bills and obligations in one

place and write down what you owe, to whom and at

what interest rate - Now! Be complete and honest

with yourself.

Get a Jump Start on Holiday Planning for Next Year

- Invest in Yourself!

Make a present to yourself this Holiday Season by

investing in yourself - eliminate your debts and

start your wealth creation plan.

1. Take any "downtime" during the holidays to make

a list of your financial goals for the next year,

two years after that, then five years and longer.

2. Add up household expense budget for this year

and add 5% to that amount. Start a monthly program

to set aside 10% of the amount for the next 10

months starting in February of 2005.

3. Read a self-improvement book such as "The

Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach.

4. For some people depression comes with the

holidays - tame the depression with the knowledge

that you can make 2006 a more fulfilling and

enjoyable year financially.

5. Take time to assess how financially secured you

are - review your insurance needs, emergency fund,

wills and overall debt and wealth balance.

Real Worth

Remember your Real Worth is not only measured by

the material gifts you give.This Holy Season is a

profound and powerful timeto commit yourself to

new beginnings, to startnew practices and to

choose what you want yourfinancial life to be in

the coming year.

Very few people choose financial clarity as one of

their new practices. Plan for your expression of

love not only through gift giving to others, but

also a gift to yourself for a secured Financial

Future. Make a painless New Year's resolution that

will give you the "Holiday Feeling Financially"

for many years.

Copyright 2005 Joan Peterkin. All rights



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