Create a Holiday Spending Budget to Help Ensure a Happier New Year

Holiday Spending Budget

The holiday season can often be stressful for people who become overwhelmed by shopping and preparation. And for many, it results in financial worries when the time comes to pay the bills. However, with some planning and discipline, the holiday season, and the bills that come afterward, can be more manageable and less overwhelming. But to achieve this, you need to start with the “B” word — budget.

Decide how much you can spend and from where the money will come

Websites like offer free, downloadable documents, like the Holiday Gift Spending Worksheet, that you can use as a basis for your holiday shopping budget. Your first step is to settle on a total dollar amount that you can afford. Don’t plan to put all your holiday expenses on a credit card, or you could end up facing financial challenges come January.

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How Does Your Credit Score Affect Insurance Costs?

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In the past, a bad credit score mainly kept you from getting a mortgage or a low finance charge on a loan. While that is still true, a person’s credit score has become a factor in qualifying for a cell phone contract or even an apartment rental. Potential employers can legally request your credit score before hiring you, and insurance companies can base your premiums — high or low — on your credit score. In fact, many home and auto insurers have changed their pricing models in recent years to include consumer credit scores as a factor in determining insurance premiums (except in Massachusetts, Hawaii or California, where the practice has been banned). Though this may sound somewhat surprising, this method of pricing provides yet another example of how your credit score can affect you in many facets of your daily life.

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Helping Children Build A Solid Approach To Managing Their Finances

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There are many ways young adults, college-aged and younger, can learn to manage their finances, but many experts think the best way may be to learn from their parents. Whether it’s related to basic banking, debit or credit management, gaining insights from parents based on their own experiences with fiscal obstacles and pitfalls can go a long way toward starting children off on the right financial footing.

Unfortunately, many teenagers and young adults might not have the benefit of establishing that kind of foundation. A study conducted by the National Jump$tart Coalition For Personal Financial Literacy found that “a significant number of high school kids don’t have even a basic understanding of general financial concepts.” And, on the college front, students are carrying larger credit balances early on. Currently, the average undergraduate student is responsible for $2,169 in credit card debt, with the average graduate student carrying a credit balance of more than $8,000.

So the question is, where should one start with educating kids on this front?

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