Every year, Oklahomans take on more debt during the holiday season, maxing out high interest credit cards and dipping into savings. This year, make a plan to be smart with your money and keep a tight reign on your spending with a few simple tips.
1. Make a Budget
In order to stick to a budget, you first have to have a budget! Carefully evaluate how much money you plan on spending this holiday season. Break those expenses down into categories like gifts, food and entertainment. Put a cap on your spending and make sure you stick to the budget. When you spend freely or impulsively, it’s too easy to sink into debt and lose track of your spending.
2. Cash, Not Credit
Make a simple rule: no credit cards. High interest balances can cost you thousands of dollars over time. Keeping your budget in cash means you’ll never be able to spend more than you carry. If you do have to use a credit card, consider moving to a low interest, no fee card. Many credit unions offer low interest credit cards, so shop around for the best deal.
3. Start a New Tradition
Each season, it seems like we amass more and more “stuff”. It’s so easy to be swept away by the desire for the newest gizmo or latest toy. But do we really need a new flat screen TV? Or another piece of jewelry? Do our kids really need the latest and greatest, super expensive toy? The sad fact is, thousands of families in Oklahoma, even in our own community, may not have enough money for food or presents this year. Instead of buying more “stuff”, start a new tradition instead! Make a pact with your family this holiday to spend less and to set aside a portion of your budget or time to help those in need. A tradition of giving and kindness will provide cherished memories for your family long after the latest gadget has been forgotten.
Here are few of our favorite ideas for how give back during the holidays:
Bixby Outreach Center
The outreach center works to provide assistance to those in need in the Bixby area. Learn more about this great organization and how you can help by visiting BixbyOutreach.org or calling them at 918.366.9226.
Answer Letters To Santa
Each year, thousands of needy children write letters to Santa asking for things like socks, food or a new coat. Did you know that the post office keeps these letters as part of its Operation Santa program? You and your family can choose to anonymously answer one of these letters from a child in need. Contact the Bixby
postal department at 918.366.3652 and ask if they participate in Operation Santa. You can also check the Be An Elf website for more information at BeAnElf.com.
Donate Toy, Coats or Food.
Be on the lookout for coat, toy or food donation boxes. There are usually several opportunities to donate during the holidays at local businesses.