Budget for the Holidays: Leave the Credit Cards at Home

Here are some tips to keep you from spending a fortune this holiday season.

by Senior Airman Christina Bozeman, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Dobbins Air Reserve Base

Every year, the holidays seem to come around with a pressing force that is faster than the year before. Just when you've fiscally recovered from last season, preparing for the next seems like an unrealistic anxiety-filled goal.

"I'm a single mom, and I have three kids, so I know how to save money," said Senior Master Sgt. Kathleen Petridis, Financial Management superintendent.

Petridis may be as close to an expert as it gets when it comes to avoiding financial woes.

Remember when you were little and all you had to worry about was if you had been good enough to warrant a visit from Santa? If you want the cockles of your heart warmed as they once were, Petridis offers some simple tips to follow for a stress-free holiday season.

As this time of year tiptoes closer, prepare for what's to come.

"Start saving money months ahead of time," Petridis said. "It makes for a happier holiday."

Staying within the set budget is also critical. Don't let credit card bills accumulate. If you do accrue bills, pay them off as soon as possible.

"Leave the credit cards at home," said Petridis. "If you don't have it with you, you won't use it."

And if you're really trying to curb spending, homemade gifts are another great option.

"Making friends and family members coupons for taking out the trash or washing the dishes is a great idea for an inexpensive gift," Petridis said. "Since it's homemade and from the heart, it will also mean more."

"No matter what you do, decide on a budget and stick to it," Petridis added. "You'll be glad you did."

Instead of trying to outdo or outspend last year, just sit back and enjoy the festivities.

"Christmas isn't about the stuff you get, "Petridis said. "It's about spending time with family and loved ones."

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