Greensboro, NC -- Some people shop for Christmas in July, some people save. What is your strategy?
Dolores Hill, a financial literacy educator at Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, is helping us keep the holidays festive versus stressful.
The first talking point is of course: make a budget. That sounds like a hug, boring task. So Dolores says, let someone else do it for you.
The MoneyCheckUp from The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a free on-line tool. It asks you all kinds of questions and at the end you come out with a budget.
A second option is a budget worksheet. It's an even shorter version of the MoneyCheckUp, and it is basic for figuring out where you are money wise and what you have to work with each month.
Dolores says the number one way we derail our Christmas budgets is by not following Santa's example.
"Yes, like Santa, you need to make a list and check it over more than twice. Make a list of the people you want to give gifts to right down to the mailman and the next door neighbor."
Here's why. When we don't do that, we don't budget for that and we end up buying something in a rush that is probably more expensive than what we would normally get.
Dolores says most of us need to find creative ways to cut spending. You can't cut back on your light bill, you have to pay it. But you can do some DIY. Her example, making her own household cleaners.
"I found that if I made my own household cleaning items, I could save several hundred dollars a year. My co-workers and I each came up with a whole list of do it yourself products." We've attached her list so you can do this if this sounds like the way you want to creatively save.