We’re in that time of the year that exposes all of our financial shortcomings. The holidays have a funny way of reminding us that we need to pay closer attention to how we earn, save and manage our money. While the world is focused on purchasing Christmas gifts and holiday parties, you may be trying to figure out how to make everything work and not go broke before January 1.

It’s too late to plan ahead and start a holiday savings account. But there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself and stay on track.

Here are two tips for avoiding holiday-spending-remorse and keeping your finances in order

Set a firm holiday budget & stick to it

The holidays tend to do wreak havoc on your finances. Think about it, it’s the one time of the year that you are constantly inundated with sales promotions and offers. Everything you’ve been putting on your wishlist throughout the year is suddenly dramatically marked down.

don’t let the holiday sales ruin your finances and drain your savings

You’ve worked so hard the whole year, don’t let your efforts be derailed by endless Christmas lists and social events. Instead, set a solid holiday budget. The last thing you want is to be digging out of debt because you overspent on gifts! Take family, friends, and co-workers into account when making your budget, so that you don’t have an unexpected expense because you forgot to adequately plan.

Think outside the box.

Plan holiday potluck dinner with your tribe and have a gift exchange – that way each person is only responsible for bringing one gift.

At work, organize a gift card swap with each person purchasing a $15-$25 gift card to participate

For family, give gifts that are meaningful but not expensive. Think affirmation cards, movie theatre gift cards, a month of yoga classes (Groupon), or even tickets to a local event

Use your gifts, if people love your baking, give the gift of cakes and pies. If they think you make amazing wreaths, make mini-wreaths for gifts.

Tip: If you have children, have them participate. Make them the keeper of the budget. They’ll be excited to be a part of creating an amazing holiday experience while maintaining a budget and not going overboard. It will help them to better understand why budgeting matters and the importance of saving

Mid-Year Money Check-up for Women

Protect Yourself

Because this is the time of the year that credit card fraud is at its peak, we must make sure it’s top of mind for you. In the past when you thought about people stealing your credit card information you may have pictured someone stealing your wallet or copying down your credit card information during a transaction… but that’s not the case anymore.

The internet has created the perfect platform for hackers to access your financial information. One thing that you can do to protect yourself and prevent credit card fraud is to set up alerts with all of your credit cards companies. Most companies will allow you to set the parameters of the alerts. I set mine up to message me each time a transaction is made. This may seem like overkill… until you’re a victim of fraud. And you’re trying to prove that those transactions are not yours. 

Additional Tips:

  • temporarily freezing cards that you know you don’t plan to use
  • use one card for all of your holiday shopping and remove the others from your wallet
  • pay with your phone using a service like Samsung Pay – that provides a temporary (unique) card number individually for each transaction.

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