JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If the holiday shopping season leaves you stressed when it comes to affording all of the shopping, it may seem easier to charge when your shopping list keeps growing and the pressure to please is knocking.
Making a list and checking twice might be decent advice from the guy in the big red suit and is echoed by financial planners like Nancy Lottridge Anderson.
“We just get carried away and we don’t realize until the damage is done and we get the bills,” explained Anderson, President of New Perspectives, Inc.
A recent WalletHub survey says about 35 million folks are still carrying last holiday season’s financial baggage. Anderson says that debt is really hard to get out from under if you’ve been impulsive.
“We see people who have the lowest net worth, probably with the lowest incomes with the biggest credit card balances," noted Anderson. "And those are also people who probably don’t have good credit scores. So, their interest rates are going to be much higher than the average credit card rate of about fifteen-percent.”
There is a silver lining if you’re worried about fitting in everything on your list.
“What we know in studies about money and happiness is that where we get the most bang for our buck is when we spend on experiences," added Anderson. "So, you know, baking cookies for someone, having a meal with them, maybe that’s better than going and buying an object or having a gift in a box that you give to them.”
Carrus King at Hope Credit Union in Jackson says saving in advance could reduce the stress down the road.
“My recommendation would be to join a Christmas Club," noted King. "A Christmas Club is an account or some type of holiday account that you can set up that you can have it draft and help you prepare for the holiday season.”
He says that every little bit helps, even if it’s just 10 dollars a month.
“You can take something as simple as a piggy bank and just save all of your change and around a year, you’d be amazed at how much change you save,” said King.
Another bit of advice from the financial planner: think about quality versus quantity and re-evaluate if everyone on your list needs a traditional gift.