Tips To Stretch Your Budget This Holiday Season

Tips To Stretch Your Budget This Holiday Season

Savvy shoppers plan for their holiday buying. They create a budget, save throughout the year, avoid credit, and stick to their plans. Here are some tips offered by smart shoppers.

1. Make a Plan For Your Spending

Start with a realistic idea of how much you can spend on all your holiday purchases. Make a list of everything you usually buy, from the gifts to food to entertainment to travel expenses, and tally the costs.

“If you don’t budget and set a specific dollar limit, then your spending grows and grows and grows. In January you’ll be horrified by how much you’ve spent,” says Mari Adam, a Certified Financial Planner in Boca Raton, Fla. “And, don’t get locked into the thought that how much you spend measures how good of a person you are.”

2. Know Your Limits

Not many can afford to shop carte blanche, so don’t try! Make a list of gift recipients and decide how much you want to spend on each person. If you’re unable to spend as much on gifts this year, prioritize for whom you really want to buy gifts. Then communicate your plans to family and friends, says Adam. “If you tell them you won’t be exchanging gifts this year, then you won’t feel embarrassed if they purchase you a gift.” You want to be able to pay off your holiday expenses within three months after the holidays, four at the most.

3. Keep Track of Your Spending

You’ve made a spending plan — great! But if you don’t keep track of all your purchases and make sure you’re staying within your budget, you’ve wasted your time. Write down everything you spend on holiday clothing, cards, postage, wrapping paper and decorations, reminds Dvorkin. “Don’t forget that these holiday expenses add up and need to be tracked on your budget.”

4. Stick To Your Shopping List

Know what you want to buy, and go to the store with a list. You can zip through the stores faster and are more apt to avoid impulse buying, says Dvorkin. When you have finished shopping, stop.

5. Avoid Last Minute Shopping

“The best window for holiday shopping is between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1,” says Dvorkin. “Don’t wait until the last minute. Give yourself time to compare prices and find the best deals.” An all-out shopping spree leaves you exhausted from shopping, tempting you to buy the next thing you see regardless of cost. Last-minute shoppers are unlikely to save money.

6. Research Your Shopping – Compare

Comparison-shopping stretches your holiday funds further. Fight the urge to get your shopping over quickly, recommends the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association. Instead, take some extra time to find the best deal before heading off to the stores by scouring catalogs, sales advertisements and the Internet.
Easier said than done. Most people are frazzled with their jobs and busy holiday schedule. They often work right up until Christmas, so their holiday shopping is done last minute, says Adam.

7. Pay With Cash, Leave Your Card At Home

Leave your credit cards at home. “Spend cash. This will force you to budget and make overspending more obvious,” says Dvorkin. According to the CCCS, people spend up to a third more when paying with credit instead of cash. There is no emotional attachment to plastic like there is to cash.

But, if you must use plastic, Myvesta.org suggests that you deduct all your purchases in your checkbook register. That way, when the bill arrives, the money will be in your checking account to pay the bill in full.

8. Limit Your Credit Card Use

Shop with no more than two credit cards — preferably low-interest rate credit cards, not the expensive department store cards. The more cards you use, the harder it is to track spending. Use one with a zero balance for purchases you will pay off in full. Use the other, low-interest rate credit card for purchases you plan to pay off over the next few months.

9. Avoid the Hype, Avoid New Card Offers

Don’t shop under the influence of holiday hype. Retailers work hard to entice you to buy, buy and buy. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend more than you planned. Don’t fall for credit card offers to “skip a payment.” You’ll just pay more in interest next month. Watch out for the “buy now and pay later” offers that encourage you to spend money you don’t have. And, bypass applying for the department store credit card to get a one-time discount.

Can I Use Credit Card Cash Advances without the Fees?

Avoid Credit Card Cash Advance Fees?

Not so fast!

If you have been working to get your credit in order, you may realize that this comes with the ability to draw money from your credit card.

Is there a way to transfer cash from your credit card to your checking account without incurring fees?

Yes, technically there is a way to get money from your credit card into your bank account.

But it’s not without fees and risks.

Technically, if you use PayPal then you could charge yourself as a merchant and have it deposit into your checking account.

The loophole appears that it would work if you had a second email address. The second address would have to be setup and linked to a checking account. You would then send money from email account one to email address two.

Basically, from your credit card to your checking accoun.  The you have cash in your checking at the cost of a credit transaction. Not the cost of a credit card cash advance.

Another option would be to transfer it to a family member who also has an account. This way they would recieve the cash. But as some users have pointed out on Quora, this is against the user rules:

Fee free transfers paypal

This user points out it would violate the terms of service. And be expensive!

Transfer your PayPal credit to yourself?

Some also have asked if you can take the PayPal credit and use it to transfer The thought is that this method would too be cheaper than a credit card cash advance. Usually, transfers to your bank account get hit with fees using this method.

Interestingly, when looking online for the answer to this question, one of the first results is the paypal community forum. Here I was expecting some kind of reply from the PayPal folks that said it would violate the Terms and Conditions.

Instead they simply reply that you can’t transfer PayPal credit to yourself. But they did say that you can send it to another’s email address. But as you can see, there’s fees attached to it.

paypal transfer to myself

Reply from Paypal Staff about PayPal Credit Transfering

People think that there are ways around these fees, but they're taking risks.

It’s safer and likely cheaper to actually get an online cash advance

If you are considering doing this PayPal transaction to youself: STOP!

This is one of the few instances where I would recommend looking at a discount online cash advance instead of messing with trying to leverage your credit. Not to mention violations of terms of service!

So the best thing to do is look for other methods. Getting an online cash advance is the better option. Here the low fees that you can manage ($15 for Cashnetusa.com for example) would be a smarter move than trying to game the PayPal system and getting yourself into trouble. The reason that PayPal has these terms of service in place is becuase they want to make sure that oppotunities for money laundering are kept to a minimum.

 

Discount Online Loans

Holiday Spending and Financial Resolutions

Spend only what you can afford

The holidays are approaching. You need to buy presents, bring wine to parties and somehow pay for it all. We all know that the holidays can be tough on your wallet. This is why I’d like to encourage you to spend only what you can afford.

Make a list and check it twice

Go through the list of presents that you need to buy and other gifts. Is there some way that you can make a cake or bake some cookies with items you may already have in your pantry as opposed to buying a nice bottle of wine? I’ve found that people are usually more appreciative of these types of things. Sure, it may take a bit of time, but there’s thought behind it and it saves you money!

Save with online shopping

If you need to do some shopping, why not at least do it online? Amazon has lots of great items that are usually cheaper than you could find them in a store anyway.

Try to skip the discount cash advance

If one of your goals for the new year is fixing your credit, then see if you can pass on the online payday loan this month. It’s probably asking a lot, but setting the groundwork now might just help you get off to the right foot in the new year. If its not possible, then go ahead and take it out. But starting in the new year, I’ll be walking you through the steps weekly to make sure that you can take the small actions to get your financials back in order.

Make a game out of saving

If you need to stay motivated, just consider what you can do with your savings. Look at the prices in your local chain stores and then compare them to Amazon. Is it cheaper to order online? Then pay yourself the difference!

 

 

 

fix credit with cash

5 Quick Actions to Fix Your Credit

Take these 5 steps towards fixing your credit

One of the first steps to getting your household financials in order is to make sure that you take steps to fix your credit.

While there are reasons to get an online cash advance, there are an equal number of reasons to try your best to avoid it. On the internet, there are also a number of bad apples out there who do not do a good job of looking after your best interests. These bad actors may make recovering from financial whirlpool even harder

1. Check your credit score

Before you can fix your credit, you’ll need to know what you score is to measure. There are a number of services out there to check your credit score quickly online. Really though, you should stick with one of the main three credit bureaus in the US that report your scores. You can choose any one of them to get your score:

  • Equifax – www.equifax.com P.O. Box 740241. Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. 1-800-685-1111.
  • Experian – www.experian.com P.O. Box 2104. Allen, TX 75013-0949. 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
  • TransUnion – www.transunion.com P.O. Box 1000. Chester, PA 19022. 1-800-916-8800.

You get one free credit report check per year, as mandated by the government. So, you won’t have to worry about shelling out money to get back on the right track.

2. Stop using credit cards to fix your credit

Fix your credit freezing card

Fix your credit by cutting down on credit card charges. Freeze cards if you have to.

If you’re serious about fixing your credit, you need to stop the cycle of changing things that you cannot afford. If you’re worried about needing them for true emergencies, you can always freeze your cards…. literally.

Ideally you should take this to also mean stopping the use of online cash advances if possible. While they are good for an emergency, just like credit cards, they can get out of control if they are not properly used. There are also alternatives to payday loans that can help you get your finances in order.

3. Add up all your bills

Before you can make a budget, you need to have an idea of what all the bills out there are that you need to pay off. At this point, the numbers may be overwhelming. Just gather up all of your bills and write down what you need to pay off.

4. Make a rough plan

Budgets can be overwhelming. Since we are right now just looking at what to do in the present, we’re not going to worry about budgeting out all the little things. Just know generally how much you can set aside to pay off your debt and bills. One of the problems with waiting until the end of the month is that then you may not have any money left over for your bills. Instead, pay the bills as soon as you get your paycheck.

5. Spend only in cash

Multiple studies show that we spend less using cash and are at least more aware of how much we spend when we use cash. Use this mindhack to help get your financials back in check. You can go back to using cards responsibly and get off cash only after your finances are back in check.