For more information:
Andrew K. Johnson
Communications Manager/GreenPath Financial Wellness
GreenPath Financial Wellness Top 10 List - Make Your Holidays Bright and Affordable
Plan Now and Budget for the Holiday Season
(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – November 27, 2012) The 2012 holiday shopping season is underway and GreenPath Financial Wellness wants to remind shoppers and budget-minded consumers that it’s never too late to start planning for an affordable holiday season and welcome 2013 debt-free.
“Now is the time to get together with family and friends and discuss a game plan for the rest of the holidays,” said Andrew Johnson, GreenPath communications manager. “While there may be discussion around where the holiday meal will be this year, you also should determine gift giving rules and budgets,” he continued.
In honor of the season, GreenPath financial counselors have put together their top 10 list of holiday shopping to-dos to undertake now:
- Start saving and budgeting: Set a specific and reasonable amount for each person on your “must-buy-for” list. Before you start socking the money away, make certain the amount won’t prohibit your ability to manage the more critical expenses. Make a similar budget for other holiday activities like sending cards, holiday parties and home decorations. Gifts are one of many holiday expenses to include in your saving plan.
- Jar your holiday spending:
• Each night, empty your pocket change into a jar, either literally or figuratively.
• Cut $5 to $10 per day out of your incidental spending; put it into the jar.
• Avoid impulse purchases, but pretend you spent it anyway; add what you would have spent to the jar.
- Don’t end up shopping at the gas station: As the old holiday joke goes, if you wait until the last minute and you may be shopping at the 24-hour GasMart. Plan your shopping early on. If you wait until the last minute, you may up spending more, just to get the shopping experience done quickly.
- Dial down the holidays: ”If your family and friends all agree to downsize the holidays to something less commercial, with fewer purchased gifts, more valuable time spent together and a “less is more” sentiment, you’re well on your way to a very meaningful holiday that doesn’t evolve into overwhelming financial stress in early 2013.
- Make your own: Gifts made from inexpensive materials can go a long way in showing someone you care because people do understand the value of your time. It can be extremely meaningful to your relationship and to the holiday, not to mention light on the pocketbook. And, good news for craftphobes…it doesn’t have to be a craft! Make a montage of family videos and pictures; mix in some great music and a great gift you can copy for a number of family members.
- Other ideas include wrapping up some homemade treats, framing a grandchild’s one-of-a-kind art piece or making a “coupon” for a house cleaning, or one weekend of free babysitting. All offer opportunities to save, while delivering a whole lot of joy to recipients.
- Think beyond the mall: It takes more creativity and less money, while delivering a thoughtful gift to a very appreciative loved one. Is there someone who would love knitting lessons from the local wool shop, a snowboarding lesson from an instructor at the local ski hill?
- Multiply: If the expectation is quantity, giving a number of small, less expensive gifts and wrapping them individually will help create the illusion that you are giving more.
- Combine resources: If a family member’s wish list includes an expensive item that you’d like to contribute to, consider asking others to go in on it with you. If they say, “no” and you have no one else to join financial forces with, a gift card from the right store in an amount you can afford can be wrapped and presented with a message about helping the recipient get closer to their dream come true.
- Save on wrapping: Inexpensive wrapping paper (even a brown paper bag), combined with a nice bow or a well-placed flower, pine cone or holiday ornament, work wonders for adding significance to a small, inexpensive gift. If you don’t have a talent for wrapping, find someone who does and enlist their help.
- Buy your gifts with cash: Studies show people who do, spend less! Add the savings to your stash and use it to pay down some debt when the holidays are over; you’ll be off to a good start in 2013.
GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 55 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.