Tips ensure financial success during holiday season

Submitted by Morgan County Extension
These financial tips will help keep the budget and bank account in check during what can be the most expensive
time of year:
● Spend less than you earn. Keep a budget or spending plan and track your spending.
● Have a plan. Get organized, write down your financial goals and know and track your expenses.
Remember, if you do not have a plan, you are more likely not to reach a goal.
● Prepare for expected events. Save in advance for upcoming seasonal events. Holiday seasons will come
and go, but financial obligations will remain.
● Make sure your bills are paid on time. This will help to improve your credit score.
● Prepare for unexpected events. Because of seasonal and holiday excitement, it is easy to overspend.
Make an effort to put some money aside, if you have not already done so, for emergencies. You never
know what can happen suddenly, such as job loss or sickness.
● Always know your interest rates. Be aware of the purchase savings in exchange for a store credit card, if
approved. This is when customers are offered a certain percentage such as 10-20 percent off their
purchases in exchange to have their credit checked to see if they qualify for a store credit card. Keep in
mind that each time an inquiry is made concerning your credit worthiness, your credit score drops by a
few points, whether approved or disapproved. If you are trying to build your credit, this would not be a
wise decision. Never exceed 13 percent interest on loans and know what you pay on interest and fees.
Know how your interest is being calculated.
● Keep a healthy credit report. Don’t forget that you are entitled to a free annual credit report:
www.annualcreditreport.com or 1-877- 322-8228 or by mail, Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O.
Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
● Avoid waste. Prepare your holiday meals instead of having them catered or eating out.
● Don’t purchase unnecessary items. Return gifts that you know you will not use or re-gift them.
● Take advantage of tax breaks. Tax season begins every New Year. Most people have earned income
credit they can claim. To save money, if you qualify (earn up to $54,000) try utilizing your local free
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in your county or a surrounding county.
● Fill in the financial gaps. If you are having financial difficulties, try having a garage sale or selling excess
produce at a farmer’s market. Another idea is to barter goods and services without having to trade cash.
You can also sell on eBay, recycle or get a part-time job.
● Give back to your community. Feel free to donate. Some ideas for tax write-offs are donating to the
Alabama 4-H, Angel Tree, United Way, Salvation Army, Food Bank or any other nonprofit organizations
of your choice.
● Plan to be financially successful.
● Know where your money is going.
● Save for specific needs.
● Write down immediate, short-term, intermediate and long-term goals.
● Start saving now to be prepared.
● Save lump sum payments and windfalls like tax refunds, gifts or inheritance.
● Have adequate health, car, home and life insurance.

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