The holidays are a time for family, friends, celebrating—and unfortunately for many, overspending. Along with all that holiday cheer comes with it an onslaught of expenses that can quickly pile up.
Parents are especially prone to overspending during the holidays, wanting to give their children the best Christmas ever. In fact, 62 percent of parents admit that they overspend when holiday shopping.
For those trying to save, or making progress with a budget, overspending can be a devastating setback. So to help you stay focused, we’ve compiled our top seven tips for to help you stay within budget this holiday season.
Let’s face it, being on a budget is tough. It takes discipline, and you may feel like you’re constantly missing out on a lot of the things you want in life. But there’s being on a budget, and then there’s living paycheck to paycheck, where you’re so strapped for money that you can’t think further than the next time you get paid. It’s an endless cycle of stress.
Having a tough time making a budget and sticking to it? You’re not alone. Many people in your shoes switch to a cash-only budget. Sometimes they do this for just a few categories—say, groceries or gas—and other times they go all-in and commit to cash only for all expenditure, period.
Why do people do this? They say they feel different when they use cash. Cash forces you to practice conscious spending, to be aware of where every dollar is going because you can physically feel it, see it and see your stash diminishing!. In short, when you spend with cash you become hyper-aware of how much things really cost. The result? You naturally slow spending and are a heck of a lot more thoughtful about your purchases.
Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island remains a scene of mass devastation and chaos. Collapsed buildings, damaged roads, gas shortages and power outages have left its residents—who need food and other basic necessities—no choice but to use cash for all purchases. Stores are unable to process credit and debit card transactions, or even government-issued benefits, due to electrical and communication outages and damaged payment processing equipment.
Thanks to the credit reporting agency Equifax, many Americans, who previously were unconcerned about their personal data, now have their eyes opened to the devastation that a cyberattack makes possible. The recent massive security breach exposed the personally identifiable information of more than 143 million Americans, including social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses, earning non-stop national headlines. These data elements give hackers all the tools they need to succeed in identity theft to perpetrate other serious crimes.
The nation has been captivated by hurricanes and earthquakes these last few weeks, as they have wreaked havoc in communities across the continent. The disasters have ignited conversations about how people should prepare for such horrific events. While many people are quick to think of necessities such as generators, food, water and first aid kits, cash isn’t typically part of the plan. However, when natural disasters strike, electricity is likely to go out, so having a plan for how to pay for things post event is critical.
Rugged individualism is deeply rooted in the United States. Americans generally do not like being told what to do or how to think, and based on the results of the 2017 Health of Cash Study, they will push back against any challenge to their freedom of choice when they pay.
It’s happened to all of us. You go into a store and go to pay with your credit card, but just as you reach into your pocket, you notice the “Cash Only” sign by the register. While it may irk you at the time—especially if you don’t have cash on hand—there’s several good reasons behind these not-so-subtle requests from store owners. Credit card transaction fees, and tight profit margins.
You’ve probably heard of the cash envelope system; it’s nothing new. But unless you’ve put this budgeting strategy to use in your own household, you may not know the details of exactly how it works and how it can help you gain control of your finances. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how the cash envelope process works.
The basics of the envelope system
The cash envelope system is not just one envelope stuffed with cash. Rather, your budget gets broken down into various categories. Each category has corresponding envelope. Inside, each envelope holds the allotted amount of cash for a specific category.
If you’re like nearly half 50% of all Americans, you experience stress related to money—not having enough; spending more than you make; struggling to manage expenses, feeling like you just can’t get ahead. No doubt about it, financial-related stress keeps a lot of us up at night.
There are countless strategies to mitigate money stress, but the simplest of all may be adopting a cash lifestyle. This means you pay for everything you possibly can in cash. Cash works because it forces you to plan and get in control; you’re limited in purchasing power to just what’s in your wallet.
A cash lifestyle forces you to evaluate what you truly need. And, with practice and discipline, you can sleep better at night knowing where every dollar is going, reducing stress and anxiety.
Take control of your money and improve your life.
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