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Military Family Finances: Preparing for holiday expenses in 2018

Every store we visit right now is bombarded with marketing posters, ads with sales on toys, holiday decorations, the latest electronics to look for and more. With all of the distractions, military families are often enticed by the buzz of holiday shopping. Are you tempted to spend too much this holiday season? Check out these quick tips on how to enjoy the holiday shopping season, while not derailing your future financial health.

Don’t be fooled by the Store Sales and your “Savings”

Often marketers will use a common tactic to make consumers feel comfortable about purchasing an item they normally wouldn’t purchase. We’ve all seen the sales where a large retail price is listed, followed by a redline on the price and now the new sale price is displayed showing your “astronomical” savings.

Store front with sale

Instead, shop around on the internet for the same goods and find out real retail prices and sales on items you’ve placed on your shopping list and seek out coupon or multi-pack purchases to save money.

Discuss purchases with your partner or spouse

While the holidays is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, often those times present challenges for families and couples when presented with the extra expenses. With all of the parties, travel expenses, the pressure to purchase gifts and maintain current expenses can often bring unanticipated financial strain.

During this active time of year, take a little time beforehand to discuss with your spouse a strategy for making purchases and avoiding the pitfalls of holiday overspending. Communicate with your partner large purchases beforehand and strive to agree on budget both of you will feel comfortable with.

Did you already Overspend?

If you’ve already spent too much money or you are hiding purchases from your spouse, don’t panic. It’s easy to fall prey to holiday credit card offers, holiday sales or other temptations to overspend. Take a moment to assess how much you’ve spent already and determine which purchases can be returned for a refund.

Next, determine if there are other ways to save money to recuperate what you’ve spent. If you’ve made purchases on credit cards, begin taking steps to make payments early and avoid interest accrual, if possible.

While it’s often difficult to inform your loved one of your overspending, learn to open up a conversation about what you’ve purchased and be prepared to tell your spouse the steps you are taking to repair. Don’t keep your partner in the dark and wait for the fallout when credit card statements show up or money isn’t available in your bank account. Informing your spouse early can help alleviate holiday spending arguments and gives your spouse the opportunity to help you both recover quickly.

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