“The Holidays – A Time To Get Creative” Lessons In Debt, Credit And Home Ownership

December 6, 2009

Making the most of what you have applies to the basic principles of money management, but it also applies to sharing the holidays in a special way that creates memories simply by making the most of what we have.

Bringing a smile, a twinkle in the eye, a joy to the heart is not always about money, but the utilization of time, talent and consideration of others. Each year readers write in about what they have done at the holidays, simple yet effective when it came to making the season special.

Saving money can sometimes be felt through more efficient time management in a very hectic season. Taking out one box of decorations at a time, decorating a little each day is much easier for a working mom who has limited time.

One family’s creativity figured out a way to keep toddlers out of harms way of a Christmas tree tumbling down and to keep the ornaments still hanging on the tree. Once the storage tubs were emptied of Christmas decorations, they put something heavy inside the container, gift wrapped them to look like presents and placed them in front of the tree so little prying hands couldn’t reach the tree or the ornaments.

For the cook, starting with the Thanksgiving food shopping specials, buying ingredients for special dishes / cookies / desserts a little each trip to the grocery is easier and saves money rather than making a large purchase all at once.

A grandmother with grandchildren, and great grandchildren came up with a way to clean out her antiques and collectables. She gift wraps her ‘heirlooms’ and put them under the tree as a special gift along with her new gifts to them.

One lady used inexpensive plastic holiday tablecloths for wrapping large gifts. Another purchased holiday material and sewed huge bags for her large gifts and they were re-used the following year. I thought the idea of purchasing an inexpensive nativity scene for the children to play with so the special displayed one would go untouched by the little hands.

I really liked the idea of paying ahead for the elderly as gifts, such as paying in advance cable television for so many months, or having the bill forwarded to you. Another was paying for beauty treatments at the nursing home as many have beauty shops on the property.

Another wrote in that rather than spend time and money on gifts to have a celebration dinner together. And of course for the hard to please teen who already has everything, gift cards from their favorite store. They could be as little as $5 each, they will love getting to choose what they want. 

Spectrum Resources mission is to help you learn how to live inside your income. Creativity is a fun way to enter the world of personal money management.

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“HOW TO Conquer The Spending Urge” Lessons In Debt, Credit And Home Ownership

December 1, 2009


 Get ready, get set GO ! You charge ahead into the stores staged for your arrival. You charge up the aisles one by one in search of THE right gift.  You charge through the crowds with determination to get that last special item on the shelf before anyone else grabs it.  You get to the cashier and in a breathless whisper, using what energy you have left, once again, you charge your purchases.  WHY do you do that ? 

 It’s a psychological warfare and you have just lost.  In today’s economy, believe me this is not a game it is warfare.  The manufacturers, retailers, lenders, and bankers are ALL counting on your weakness to buy !  Buy ! Buy !

 The good news you can conquer the spending urge.  Set your strategy to win.  Structure a plan by knowing who you are going to buy for and exactly how much you can afford to spend on each person.  You know your weaknesses, so prepare guards to protect yourself.  Use a detailed check list, have a system in place to keep you in control of your decisions.

Use ONLY CASH, and leave credit cards at home frozen in a glass of water.  IF you insist on using your debit card remember to keep it inside your check register to document each transaction.

 Right up front, do not spend money on wasteful things.  Don’t buy poinsettias or mini pine trees to decorate your house if you don’t have a green thumb to keep them alive.  Forget the ‘traditional’ food like fruitcake, eggnog, fancy nuts or peppermint candy if no one likes it.   Buy a little less than what you think you need, everyone is eating holiday foods, and are trying to cut back on consumption.  From the office parties, church functions, neighborhood gatherings, social functions, all of which are serving extra food, so cut back on the amount, offer smaller amounts in a wider variety.

Conquer the Mall by shopping alone unless you’re just browsing.  Make major purchases before the stampede. Don’t go on crowded weekends when you’re bound to become to frustrated to bargain hunt. You will end up buying just anything to get the chore out of the way. 

 Wait until AFTER Christmas to buy items you spot that you want for yourself. And take a special envelope with you to put all receipts in while shopping, this way they won’t get lost shuffling the bags, you know there is always a need to return something. Plus, you will have to match your receipts to your check register, or worse to your credit card statement when it comes in.

 Shop AFTER Christmas for stocking stuffers, greeting cards, decorations, and ‘Thank You Gifts” for your staff, postman, and service people. Use savings to pay down principal of debts.    

 Spectrum Resources (863) 967-0660 email:  SpectrumResources@tampabay.rr.com

And please visit all our blogs, each different: http://MoneySavingTips.PolkVoice.com

http://WomanToWomanMagazine.ning.com  http://SpectrumResources.wordpress.com

http://FinancialEducationAndOptions.blogspot.com and for those who want to raise their credit score in 75 days – Guaranteed visit: http://CreditJusticeServices.com/?ccc=1242