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You or Your Money: Who is the Boss?

downloaded from pixaby 11-8-15  https://pixabay.com/p-308983/?no_redirectAre you the boss of your money?  Or is your money the boss of you?  The National Retail Federation seems to be betting that people are the boss of their money – that we plan where and how it will be spent. 

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) website earlier this month, their latest survey found that “holiday shoppers plan to spend an average $463 on family members, up from $458 last year and the highest in survey history.  Average spending per person is expected to reach $805, with more than half of shoppers planning to splurge on non-gift items for themselves.”

The first step in becoming the boss of your money is to track your spending for a reasonable amount of time.  However, until you have those records accumulated, you can start with
some “ballpark” figures for various spending categories.

For example, allotting an amount equal to not more than 1.5% of your annual income for holiday spending is a ballpark suggestion that financial planners give us.  Feel free to adjust that figure up or down, depending on your circumstances and family or personal values.

Several other strategies can help you be the boss of your money, especially when it comes to holiday spending.  Planning ahead is one strategy.  By planning ahead, we are less likely to use credit cards or loans, or to at least use them wisely so we don’t end up paying interest and/or fees on top of the purchase price for the items we buy.

As exciting as “last minute” shopping might be, planning ahead gives us power to make smarter buying decisions and avoid impulse purchases.  This is partly due to the fact that we will have time to do comparison shopping.  However, if you thrive on stress, there sometimes are “great deals” to be had at the eleventh hour.

Some people shop all year round for the gifts they will give during the holiday season.  The key to making that strategy work well for you is to stay organized, and to keep track of the gifts you’ve already purchased so you don’t purchase more.  It is also important to remember where you stored the gifts so you can find them when the time comes to give them away.

Other people save money on a regular basis all year long so that they have money available for holiday spending when the season rolls around.  They key to this strategy is to estimate the total amount of money you want to save up, and then to channel enough money out of each paycheck into the saving place so that the saving balance grows to the goal amount by the date you anticipate needing it.

More strategies for being the boss of your money during the holiday spending season are available from NDSU Extension at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/money/holiday-spending.  University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides a holiday spending worksheet at http://www.unl.unl.edu/smmc/worksheets/holidayworksheet.pdf.  It includes ideas and instructions for homemade gifts.

Sources:  https://nrf/com/resources/holiday-headquarters, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/money/holiday-spending, and http://www.unl.edu/smmc/worksheets/holidayworksheet.pdf

Photo:  https://pixabay.com/p-308983/?no_direct  (downloaded 11-8-15)


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