Budgeting for the Holidays and Beyond 

Check with your local community bank (visit www.banklocally.org to find a community bank near you) to see if they offer Holiday or Christmas Club accounts. This allows customers to save towards their holiday spending. If your financial institution doesn’t offer a club, simply start saving money early in the year on a regular basis and keep it in a separate account so that it’s out of sight and out of mind.  

Live within your means. Since you don’t have the ability to print cash to repay your debt, spending more than you make is just never going to work. Understand your wants versus your needs and practice patience in your finances. 

Establish a budget. Specifically, carve out a discretionary spending budget. Take this money out in cash or use a separate account to stay within that budget.

Pay off credit card balances in full each month. If you are not able to do this, ensure you are paying substantially more than your minimum payment to try to reduce and eliminate the balance.

Save money for your retirement. It may seem like it is very far off in the future, but you can never start saving too early. If your employer offers or 401(k) or similar retirement savings plan, try to maximize your savings and really ensure you are contributing enough to get the maximum employer match. If you have the money automatically deducted from your pay, you will never miss the money in your paycheck. Set it and forget it.  

There are many personal financial management tools and apps available to help you better manage your money. Most of these tools will let you see what you are spending on a monthly basis and help you understand where your money goes. You need to understand where your money is going to be able to budget your monthly spend.

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