• Rudo Catlin

Beware of Christmasspenditis

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The retail industry uses the emotions of the yuletide season to encourage the consumer to spend during the holidays. While this is good for the retail sector and the Barbados economy how does it affect your own financial health in 2014? Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself before you get lost in the emotion of the season.

· Have you prioritized your spending

· Have you crystallized your goals and thought about our spending (needs versus wants) and developed a written budget

· Have you done your research to get the best deals where possible

· Are you prepared to track your spending

· Are your gifts practical and useful, and last but not least; will they be appreciated!

If you haven’t asked yourself these questions you could be heading for a serious case of ”Christmasspenditis”. It is a subtle but dangerous condition because the side effects are usually disguised with holiday cheer and manifests itself within seven to fourteen days. Here are some side effects .

· low to no revenue in 2014

· debt (of which I consider the credit card type to be the most dangerous)

· memory loss ( cannot remember where the money went)

· cut backs in the new year

· delving into your long term savings accounts like pension funds or insurance cash values

You may recognize some these symptoms from January this year and want to avoid a recurrence in the coming months. My advice, make a budget and stick to it. Leave your credit and debit cards at home and walk with only the cash you need. Buy thoughtful and practical gifts( Starting an investment account in mutual funds or government bonds is a gift that will continue to give for years to come). Phone cards for persons who use top ups, food vouchers, work attire like socks and shirts are all useful and practical gifts. These are gifts that persons will not only have great use for in the New Year but can also reduce their budget costs in January. Avoid debt as much as possible if not altogether. Christmas is not a surprise event, it happens every year at the same time. If you know you are going to need to make large purchases open a separate account and save small amounts for it during the year. Lastly remember the less fortunate. Old shoes and clothes could mean a wardrobe to someone else. Happy Holidays.

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