It’s easy to get caught in the spirit of spending during holiday season.
You walk in a store with a list and the best of intentions and still find yourself defenseless against the many forces designed by retailers to encourage you to spend, spend, spend. But here’s the gotcha — even if you stick to your guns, you may still find yourself shelling out too much because of short-term thinking.
Scott Christian, a wealth management advisor for Merrill Lynch in Alpharetta often sees clients creating short-term budgets that don’t take into account big expenses such as holidays and travel.
“When people budget, they budget based on their monthly spend,” he says. “They get their after tax income and budget it out for a month. When we bring people in for a financial plan, we try to get them down to an annual plan, but it is very hard to get people to think annually.”
If you can force yourself to think about the holidays a year in advance, it can pay off big. There are of course, the things most of us already know — make a list, avoid impulse buys and shop year round for stocking stuffers and the best deals on gifts, but here are a few other strategies to consider now that can help you better plan for next year:
How are you reigning in holiday spending this year? How will you plan better next year?
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog