It's hard to remember anything when you're rolling out of bed at 5am, still drowsy from last night's turkey paired with a lack of shut-eye. But it's especially hard to remember your budget. Maybe that budget amnesia accounts for these poll results: according to the Washington Post, half of the respondents to a poll early last year said they would carry their holiday credit card debt into spring. And this was before the current economic slump. So how do you stop yourself from overspending this holiday season? Why not give yourself a few gifts before you start shopping for everyone else:
Gift 1: A Budget
I know, it's scary. When there are people to shop for, holidays parties to attend, even holiday parties to throw, you may not want to have your financial reality mapped out in front of you when you could have a piece of pie and a healthy slice of ignorance instead. But soon enough it will be January, the month of New Years resolutions and no more holiday splurge excuses. So why not get a head start and make a budget now? Include holiday gifts and get a better idea of how much you can spend this holiday season. You can use WISER's budget worksheet to get you started. For help on keeping track of your spending, check out WISER's "Keep Track of Your Spending" Fact Sheet.
Gift 2: A Low-Interest Credit Card
Look for low-rate and no annual fee credit cards. You can get a list of credit cards, interest rates and fees: send $5 to RAM Research’s CardTrak,
Gift 3:A Free Credit Report
Get a better idea of your credit situation, for free! As of September 2005, all US Citizens are eligible for one free credit report from each credit agency per year. To receive your free annual credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. This can help you improve your credit and set some long term financial goals.
Gift Trapped? [Washington Post]
Tips for Reining in Holiday Giving [Washington Post]