Budgeting for the Holidays and Beyond

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - How much money did you spend on Black Friday? Are you worried that once you finish with Christmas shopping, you won't have enough in the bank to pay the bills in January?  If so, you're not alone.

"People may look at that dollar amount in the bank and say this is how much I have to spend but what they need to consider is bills still come in January and they may be considering buying a house or car next year," explains TIC Federal Credit Union's Jessica Johnson.

So when it comes to financial planning for the holidays, experts say be realistic about what you have now and what you'll need later.

Experts say one rule of thumb is to allocate 1.5% percent of your pre-tax annual income on holiday shopping.  That means a family making $50,000 a year, would be able to spend $750.

TIC offers free, holiday budgeting sessions for its members.

They literally sit down and review specific details about the person's current finances and future goals.

"Maybe long term care or education in the future, those are things that always have to be kept a thumb on, and you always have to make sure when you're spending money, you keep those bigger things in mind," says Johnson.

Another resource for free, budgeting sessions in our community is Consumer Credit Counseling Services of West Georgia/East Alabama. The number is 706-596-0006.

Click here for more tips on stretching your holiday dollars.
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