Monday, 25 November 2013

Pay your bills and stay on budget during the Holidays



A new reports suggest Canadians are demanding more credit and taking on more loans despite being better at paying their debts. According to the credit-reporting agency Equifax delinquency rates were at record lows during the three-month period ending in September 2013, that means less people have bills that are more than 90-days overdue, but we continue to rack up debt. As we start our Christmas shopping, its important not to increase what we owe. Carrying a heavy debt load affects every part of your life and minimizes your chances of long term financial freedom. Here are some simple rules to live by this holiday season. .

  

Set limits: Make a list and set a budget before you leave your house.
Research shows you save up to 23 per cent when you shop with a list. Whether it’s groceries, holiday shopping or buying some new clothes. By making a list you will Always Save Money. Even a list put together last minute will keep you better focused then no list at all.

Plan your route: Know before hand the stores and malls you want to visit.
We’re always looking for the best deals during the holidays, but it can mean visiting a number of different stores to get them. If you’re heading out on a particularly busy day, i.e.: Black Friday or the weekend, plan your route so you can take advantage of all the sales without getting sidetracked or stressed out. By knowing what you want before hand you’re less likely to get distracted and buy what you don’t need.

Avoid the unnecessary purchases: It’s not a deal unless you need it.
It’s so easy to pick up a few extra items because they look like they are a good deal and you feel like the sale will never come around again. Unless you need the item don’t buy it, no matter what the price is. It’s a waste of money otherwise.

Reality check: Visit your closet to count unused items you bought on sale.
I do this every time I hit the mall. I take a walk though my own wardrobe. This does a couple of things, one helps me see what I already have and maybe what I can buy to refresh a few items I don’t wear anymore. Two it helps me bear witness to all the items I bought on sale that I never wear or probably only wore once. This exercise gets me in the right frame of mind.

Don’t add to your stress: Avoid Black Friday and Boxing day shopping.
If you’re carrying any consumer debt you have no business going shopping and adding to it. Deal with your debt first and then make a plan to shop. It’s the harsh reality of money you can never afford to be reckless and you have to always pay attention to it. How many of us have opened our credit card statements after the holidays and gasped at the amount, most of think “I had no idea I spent that much.” 

Make your 2014 promise early: Money is the one of the top 5 New Year's resolutions.
Rather than waiting until the New Year, make a promise to yourself now to save more next year. Get a head start on that by keeping your finances in check during the holidays. This doesn’t mean you don’t by gifts or give up cooking a Turkey
on Christmas, its means you plan your holidays better and don’t leave your financial health up to chance.

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