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Americans admit making poor financial decisions this holiday season
posted in: Financial Wellness
by Chris Stroisch

How much money are you borrowing this holiday season?

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? How did you pay for it?

The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey reveals 62 percent of Americans are paying for holiday gifts by taking money from savings, not making their normal contribution to savings, charging expenses to a credit card or borrowing money from friends. Yes, you read that right – borrowing from friends to pay for gifts.

How are you paying for all of those gifts?

Credit card(s) 31 percent
Withdraw from savings 18 percent
Stop depositing money in savings 12 percent
Borrow from friends 1 percent

Who overspends the most during the holidays? Men or women?  

Well, it depends on who the gifts are for. The survey found women are more likely to overspend on gifts for their children, while men are more likely to overspend on gifts for themselves.

Both men and women admit they overspend on food and vacations during the holiday season.

Tips to avoid overspending

First, create a budget and write it down – either on paper or in your favorite electronic device. Start by setting the total amount you plan to spend. Then, make a list of everyone you need to buy for and assign a dollar amount you plan to spend for each person.

When you get a final list and add up the cost of the planned purchases, see how that compares with the total you planned to spend. If you are over, take some simple steps to cut where you can.

  • Review the list and make sure you really  need to buy gifts for everyone on the list. Does an old high school friend who you haven’t seen for years really need a new coffee mug? Do you really need to buy gift cards for all of your co-workers or could you simply bring in baked goods to share? 
  • Look for lower cost options for gifts. Remember, it is the thought that counts, and your parents and grandparents probably wouldn’t want you to overspend on gifts for them.

Taking control of your finances will not only help you prepare for your future goals, it will also help make the holidays less stressful. When you are ready to discuss your financial goals and a way to achieve them, we are ready to help. #TakeSimpleSteps

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