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The holidays are quickly approaching and ’tis the season that many consumers tend to overspend, get in debt, and ruin the effort they put into saving all year long.
Having a plan is the best way to enjoy celebrations and avoid putting the bank account in dire straits, according to Jua Williams, Chase Skyland Town Center Branch Manager.
“It’s more important now than ever to make sure you stick to some of the goals that you have,” Williams said. “If you have been putting in a lot of work throughout the year, your financial journey is ongoing. It’s family time. It’s time for a celebration, so now more than ever make sure you have some discipline.”
Letitia Newman of southeast D.C. agreed, adding that you should prepare a budget just for the holiday season.
Newman, an outreach worker for the National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens, participated in a finance class at Chase organized through her job.
It was there where she learned more about savings and debt-to-income ratio.
She even created a game for her family to make saving fun. Each family member has 100 envelopes that are numbered 1 – 100. The number represents the dollar amount to save that day. For example, $1 is put away on day one, $50 is put away on day 50 and $100 is put away on day $100. By the end of the challenge, there is $5,000 in savings.
Newman said she didn’t realize the importance of credit when she was growing up, so she made it a point to educate her children on financial health.
“My children had bank accounts when they were young,” Newman said.
As a result, her oldest son, now 26, purchased his first home at 24, and received a 2 percent interest rate on a new car.
At Chase, there are many digital tools on mobile devices or laptops that can assist with saving, such as autosave features that allow you to put money away automatically. Williams said these tools are built in to help you save.
Williams added that another way to prepare for the holiday season is to create a second stream of income, whether it be through talents, such as baking, or getting a side hustle, such as Uber, Lyft or other delivery services.
In addition to those tips, Williams suggested that consumers track their spending. “Stay in the boundaries that you set for yourself.”
Williams also reminded consumers that credit cards are not meant to be supplemental income.
“We want to make sure that you are using credit wisely,” Williams said, adding that decisions should be made to access credit lines only when you know it can be repaid pretty quickly.
Before any holiday spending is done, Williams said people should think about the holiday experience they want to create.
“What does that experience look like. How much does it cost?” Williams asked. “How are you going to make sure you have enough funds for that to happen?”
For Newman, experiences are envisioned throughout the year. She has a basic savings account, and she has since created accounts for vacations and other expenses.
“It helps me manage my money better,” Newman said, adding that she is always thinking of ways that she can save.