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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Hello Holiday Season

When the leaves start to change color, it seems as though the holiday season starts up and keeps going into the New Year. While the holidays can be a wonderful time, it also can be a time of high expenses. This year, start the holiday season by deciding how much you can comfortably spend and set-up a spending plan. Enjoy the holidays by planning your spending wisely.

Traditionally we talk about saving money in terms of gift-buying. But for many people costs include many things beyond gifts. Consider the results from a recent PriceGrabber's survey: household costs for Halloween include brand-new costumes (48% of respondents with children), home decorations (70% plan new purchases), and 18% of respondents plan to dress up their pets. Halloween has always been a fun holiday at our home, and I know that many years my Halloween expenses included candy, party treats, and adult costumes too.

Perhaps you're thinking, "Sure, I have Halloween expenses, but they really aren't much." Well, you might want to consider tracking your expenses this year. According to a Savers, Inc. survey, the average family is expected to spend $300 on Halloween this year.

After Halloween comes Thanksgiving (food, travel, and decorating expenses) and then winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa with other expenses. By the time the credit card bills arrive in January, we will have New Year's celebration expenses too. While I look forward to all the good times to come in the next few months, I also want to be sure that my January is not depressing!

To avoid a January with too many bills, plan now how much you want to spend in the next few months. Then stick to your plan.

The holiday season is a good time to stay organized. Make a list of all your expenses for each holiday and estimate how much you will spend. If you need help thinking of expense categories, University of Illinois Extension's worksheet, "Control Your Holiday Debt," at is useful. For example, don't forget flowers and holiday plants -- and did you remember postage and shipping costs?

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Great! thanks for the share!
by Consumer Tom on Friday 11/11/2011