How to Budget for Christmas Shopping – Your Guide to Survive the Holiday Season

How to budget for Christmas Shopping So You Don't Go Broke

Yes, it is only just Fall and the leaves are barely starting to change color but before any of us realize it, the snow will be on the ground and Jingle Bells will be playing at the mall (OK, the holiday music will start once Halloween is over).

Budgeting for Christmas shopping now may sound like a chore but it can be the life line you need to avert debt.

Typically when a person goes Christmas shopping and there is no budget, then this gives the illusion of having no limits – and no limits often leads to January credit card bills that hurt.

I’ve heard people talk about how they counted on getting a big tax refund in order to pay for the previous holidays.  Is that you?  That doesn’t sound like healthy finances to me.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

According to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the projected household spending for this coming holiday season is $684.  Do you have that in your savings, ready to spend on gifts?  Some people do.  A lot of people don’t.  And where they tend to turn to are credit cards (read: debt).

Designing a budget helps you to avoid that steep downhill in January; and this helps to keep the happiness of the holidays lasting well into the new year.

Read on and I’ll walk you through the steps you need to make so you can budget for the holidays now.  This way you have the money you need to pay for the gifts you want.

How to Budget for Christmas Holiday Shopping So You Don’t Go Broke
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Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard – Review: 40k Bonus Miles, 2x Rewards, and More

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When you use a credit card wisely it’s a great tool to have in your pocket.  But it’s even better when you can earn some nice, juicy rewards that can help you travel!

That’s what the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® does.

Stick around and keep reading our review and I’ll show you why the Arrival Plus World Elite is aching to be part of your credit card tool set.  You’ll also see what’s it’s a great all-around travel rewards card.

The Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® – Rewards That Are Easy and Keep Coming Back

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Read These 12 Tips and Save on Halloween Costumes for Your Kids

How to save on Halloween costumes for the kids.

Halloween is great fun!  I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite holidays.

Here’s the one holiday where you are allowed to dress up and go around asking people for candy.  And they give it to you!

I remember how exciting it was going around town in my Halloween costume, getting candy from all of the neighbors.

Some years I would really score.

We’d go visit my grandparents in the Bronx (Co-Op City) and go up and down their apartment building visiting as many doors as I could (don’t worry, the grand’rents and the ‘rents made sure all the candy was good to eat).

And do you remember those old Halloween costumes?

You know the ones that came in a box and it was made up of a thin plastic mask with eye holes that hurt and the mask would be full of sweat before long (because it was a big piece of plastic covering your face) and it was held onto your head with an elastic string with a couple of staples that usually didn’t last the night and the body of the costume was a plastic sack-like piece you climbed into which also didn’t make it through the night?

Those were AWESOME!

I remember one year I was Chewbacca and another I was Yoda (I remember terrorizing my younger sister with those masks too.  I was such a stinker!).  I’m sure I was Superman and Batman as well.

I love being able to go through all that now through the eyes of my kids.

But have you seen the price of Halloween costumes these days?!?
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Should You Buy a Bigger House? Take These Into Consideration First!

Should you buy a bigger house?

Many people look to the time when they can get a bigger home. 

Sometimes you just need more space.  Some just want the bigger place.  I see homes being torn down and re-built into much larger houses.

Thing is, when you buy a bigger house you aren’t just paying a bigger mortgage.  With a bigger house comes some other expenses and costs that increase.

The question is, should you buy a bigger house?

If you have weathered the current recession and have the funds, those beautiful, large houses that were built just fifteen to twenty years ago may be tempting.  Even if the price on a larger house is one you can afford, think carefully before upsizing.

With an upsize comes many other upsized costs.  Keep reading and see why buying a bigger house may be more than you expected.

Here’s What You Can Expect to Go Up If You Buy a Bigger House:

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How to Start an Emergency Fund – It’s Not That Hard!

How to Start an Emergency Fund

One of the best things you can do for your personal economy is to start an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund can help protect you against financial setbacks, since it provides you with a little extra cushion to draw on.  Rather than turning to debt, you can use money in your emergency fund to cover unexpected costs.

Experts recommend that you save at least six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund.  So, if you spend $3,000 a month, you need to have $18,000 in an emergency fund.

Notice here that I’m talking about expenses and not income here.  What you need to save in an emergency fund is money to cover what you normally spend in expenses each month, not how much you make.

Anyway, that’s a daunting task.

How can you get started when you have that huge amount of money hanging over your head?

Here’s How to Start an Emergency Fund

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Why Do I Need Life Insurance and How Much Should I Buy?

Why do I need life insurance and how much should I buy?

I think it’s safe to say most people don’t like the idea of thinking about life insurance.

It’s a reminder that, after all, we’re mortal and one day we won’t be around anymore.  In fact the subject bothers some people so much that they don’t even look into getting life insurance.

But you won’t do that, will you?

To help make getting life insurance easier for you I’m going to tackle a couple of common questions when considering life insurance — why do i need life insurance and how much should I buy?

When Most People Start Thinking About Life Insurance

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What Should You Do With a Cash Windfall?

What should you do with a cash windfall?

Quick—if you got a serious cash windfall what would you do with it?

What’s a serious cash windfall?  That number is different for everyone but I think any amount that would make a significant dent in your life (or more).  I’m thinking an amount starting at $1,000 and going up from there.

It’s fun to think about this question, not the least of which since windfalls do happen, at least from time to time.  And when they do come, it never hurts to have some ideas or a plan for what you’d do with it.  This way when the money comes you can act rationally.  A cash windfall is a great opportunity that you don’t want wasted.

The way I see it, there are three basic choices—spend it, save or invest it, or use it to pay down (or pay off) debt.

Which you choose depends on your circumstances.

Let’s take a look at three options for a cash windfall:

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