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It’s been a year unlike any other, and now it’s the holidays in the middle of a pandemic. Thinking of forgoing celebrations all together due to finances or inability to travel? Before you make your final decision, consider a few key points.

The holidays are historically a time of celebration. Food, gifts, drinks, and goodwill. This year will look a bit different for most households. The big spending and large gatherings may not be a part of this year’s tradition, but it also doesn’t mean the holidays have to be dull and bleak.

More than ever, the average person understands the power of the penny. Overspending can cause more harm than the intention and, in some cases, be the catalyst to file personal bankruptcy in Southwestern Florida. As you’re planning, you will need to consider the latest CDC guidelines for your area. Safety first. Fun and finances next!

To help your financial health, here are some tips to help you celebrate the season.

  • As you begin, review your current financial situation and know where you stand.
  • Think about who you will need to purchase gifts for, and based on your finances, calculate how much money you can reasonably spend on each person.
  • Itemize your expenses. This year’s a bit easier to do so because, for most, travel and large family gatherings won’t take up most of your spending money.
  • Track your expenses in real-time. Whether you use an app or a spreadsheet, stick to your budget!

With the world literally at your fingertips, shopping online for loved ones is easy. Equally so is making sure you’re getting the best price out there. Many apps can help you do this while you are virtually browsing.

There’s a sense of wanting to give lavishly during the holidays. Forgo the urge to use credit. Save credit cards for emergencies only. As personal bankruptcy attorneys in Southwestern Florida, one of the most common forms of debt we see is from personal credit cards.

If finances are extra tight, consider homemade gifts or acts of service to those in need. Write a heartfelt letter, make a craft item, or bake cookies. Consider an act of service by washing a loved one’s car or shoveling snow for a neighbor. A family donation to a charity is also a thoughtful way to spread good cheer without breaking the bank and putting you in debt.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last minute to complete your shopping. Studies show that this leads to panic shopping and overspending. Again, stick to your budget.

Missing family and friends that are out of town? Use one of the many internet meeting apps to host a family celebration time, movie night, or gingerbread house making competition. This holiday act is free but still fun and heartwarming.

This year more than ever, the holidays should be a time spent counting your blessings with family and loved ones and not worrying about how much money you spent on the celebration. Stay out of personal bankruptcy in Southwestern Florida this year by making a plan and sticking to it.

Stay safe, and enjoy your holidays from Miller, Hollander, & Jeda.