What not to do at Christmas (or any time of year).

For most of us the Holiday Season and the weeks after it are usually pretty tight financially. There are gifts to buy, regular bills, and then there are those non-regular bills like taxes or insurance. This year my family even has the added pleasure of paying a $1,500 deductible for a recent hospital stay. At times like these when bills are piling up and it’s nearing that overwhelming point, it can be very tempting to consider an alternative like a “quick cash” place. This type of debt is a bad idea. If you don’t believe me then look at this video interview with a woman who used to run a Payday Loan store.

If you’re financially exhausted then it’s a good idea to sit down and work on a financial plan. Here are a few characteristics your plan might include:

  • It doesn’t have to be complicated, simpler is usually better.
  • It will probably show how much money you expect to make over the next several weeks. It should also involve planning how to spend that money. This is probably the most important step. But be prepared to face the possibility that the money coming in is not enough to cover what needs to go out! If that’s the case don’t panic. This is why you’re making a plan, to figure out how you are going to make it through.
  • It might include contacting the places you owe money to and making arrangements to pay over time. That’s what I’m going to ask our local hospital about! 😉
  • It might include making an appointment to sit down with someone at the credit union for some honest financial counseling and advice or to look into re-structuring your existing debts.
  • Lastly, if your plan does involve a loan here at crunch time, consider the different options available to you before getting it and be sure that the new payment will not put too much of a burden on you either in the short-term or in the long-term. A credit union Christmas loan has a very low interest rate(9.5%), can be paid back over 12 months, and you don’t have to borrow the whole amount.

The credit union wants you to be prosperous all year long. If you’re struggling, tell us. We’ll listen to your story. And we’ll try to offer real help. So have a Merry Christmas but remember to resist the temptation to go overboard on spending, and not to rush into any loans or purchases. Most of all, avoid taking those high interest loans or Payday Loans. The only people such loans benefit are the executives who own the Payday Loan stores.

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One Response to What not to do at Christmas (or any time of year).

  1. CU Communicator says:

    Hi Dan –

    Well said! It’s so easy to get behind on things this time of year, or to spend more than you intended over the holidays. These are great tips, and it’s good to see you spreading the word among your members.

    Happy Holidays!
    Jeff

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