Romance & Money
Incorporating The Cost Of Gift Giving
Money talk before the holidays
Janice in Delaware:
We h've been together for four years and married for two. Every year we seem
to get out of control with our holiday spending. We're still paying off the last
two Christmas seasons. With our perennial Christmas card debt (rates of 16% and
more) we'll never own a home or take a vacation. What can we do to save
ourselves from ourselves?
Janice, You are right to be concerned. Some people
accumulate so much credit card debt that it would take 40 years to pay off at
the rates most consumers pay. Your first priority needs to be to your financial
health, not to those for whom you've been buying gifts each year.
"Each snowflake in an avalanche
pleads not guilty."
Stanislaw J. Lee (1909-1966)
Think of debt as a potential
Though it may be difficult, this year you MUST tell your friends and family that
you have to get a handle on your debt, so this year gift giving will be either
none at all or minimal. I advise you to have them join in on this
budget-conscious holiday. Have everyone draw names, or buy only $10.00 gifts.
Yes, I said $10.00. Be creative. Better yet, get everyone together and do
something for the homeless or your favorite charity for the holidays instead of
spending money on each other. Give the truest gift of them all: your time and
compassion. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Years ago I took my office staff to the homeless shelter to feed the homeless
for two days. We were all changed for the better. Our team spirit was amazingly
improved, as were our interpersonal relationships. Give of yourself for the
holidays and leave those credit cards alone.
Believe me, your friends and your family, want nothing but for you to
be happy and healthy. Debt is not healthy. They probably will be supportive of
your efforts to get out of debt. Have that all important money talk before the holidays.
For your own sake, examine your debt. Know the math. For example: a $10,000.00 credit card balance at 16%; $167.00 per
month for ten years will cost you over $20,000.00. Is it worth it?
Go to this wonderful site: http://www.cardratings.com and use their on-line
calculator to get a good view of what your debt is costing you.
Now, for all that past debt you've accumulated, lower the
rates on the cards by shopping around for the best credit card plan.
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