Vermont Veterans Outreach Personal Financial Counselor provides financial services to Vermont’s Veterans, Service Members and their families. These services include budgeting, debt reduction, retirement planning, and much more. Our Family Program Personal Financial Counselor can assist you in your efforts to become financially stable and independent. The Personal Financial Services integrates within the military life-cycle; from pre-deployment financial preparation activities through transitioning from the military to civilian life. These services are free, confidential and available to Veterans and families residing in Vermont.
By Megan Sather
| VTNG Family Programs | Oct. 1, 2020
Surviving the Holidays Financially
The holidays will be here soon, and we need to plan now to be able to survive them financially. No one ever wants to go into debt to pay for the holidays. You still have a few months left to plan.
The first thing you need to do is know where all your money is being spent right now, and that will require some type of spending plan. There are many free resources to help you create a budget, start by checking with your bank or credit union and see if they have a spending tracker.
Once you have found where you are spending your money now, you need to make a spending list for the holidays. This year the holidays may look different, you may not be traveling or may not be having the big gatherings. Sit down and plan what your family will be doing this holiday season.
Once you know what your holidays plans are, start your holiday budget by listing everyone you purchased gifts for last year and add new people you will be buying for this year. Then make a list of all the extra expenses you will be spending on beyond the individual gifts, include things like, gift wrapping, postage for sending gifts, and extra food and drinks for the holidays.
Now that you have made a list of things you want to spend money on, you need to find that money in the budget you already completed. If you don’t know how much to spend, some experts say no more than 1-2% of your yearly salary is a good guide for spending on the holiday’s; that’s for All the holidays you celebrate this time of year.
If there is very little or no extra money in the budget, then you need to get creative. Two great gifts to think of giving are gifts you make or giving of your time. If you love baking, or love crafts, you can make something and also help children make gifts, they say people appreciate the time you put into handmade items, what a great lesson to teach your children. Giving your time, maybe running errands for a homebound family member, a date night out for new parents, or creating a photo calendar for friends and family. Put yourself in their place and think what you would love to receive.
Planning for the holidays continues after they are over, keep track of what you spent this year, and beginning in January you can start saving that in a holiday account and be on track to have a debt-free holiday season.
Megan Sather ~ Personal Financial Counselor (Contractor) ~ Cell: 802-318-2507 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org