That’s no way to “spend” the holidays!

Holiday SpendingOh, my achin’ bank account!

Yes, you know how you’ll feel when you wake up late on New Year’s Day. You hear the parades on TV, and you struggle to recover in time for the football game you’ve been waiting for.

But no, it’s not the New Year’s Eve party, cheap champagne and loud rock cover band that has your head pounding. It’s the realization that your Christmas spending spree has left you even deeper in debt than you were when you stopped to think about it over Thanksgiving. OMG!

First, the obvious: don’t put yourself in that situation in the first place. How?

Unfortunately there is no miracle financial flu shot that will protect you from this horrible disease. Only common sense can help to ward off this infection. Here is the prescription to protect against the financial flu.

1. Set a maximum spending cap for Christmas gifts.
2. Create a budget for holiday purchases that stays within that maximum. Try the old-fashioned envelope method. Carefully allocate your cash to the purchases you plan to make. When the money is gone, it’s gone. Period.
3. Cash is king! Credit cards are like cheap champagne – it seems harmless and a little sweet on the way down… but man, what a financial hangover a month later! Paying for your purchases with cash allows you to stay on budget and avoid years of future interest payments.

Harsh? Old school? Absolutely! But following these simple steps will ensure that you really do have Happy Holidays.

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