Ho-ho-holy moly folks it’s only 2 weeks til Christmas. I’m sure we’re all wondering where the heck 2012 went, so I’ll skip that rhetorical question and move on to my next: how is everybody’s finances holding up this season? I’ve been seeing commercial after commercial, ad upon ad, encouraging shoppers to spend more because their Christmas recipients are “worth it,” or splurge for themselves this season because they “deserve it,” and so forth and so on. I want to run around shaking people, yelling, “Don’t listen to them! They want your money! They are retailers! They want your money!” A bit dramatic, but I am convinced it would get the point across! People, wake up and smell the hot chocolate. If you are heading into debt over some presents (or are already there,) don’t you think that the people you’re buying for would rather you be debt-free than spending a fortune on gifts for them? Cause I sure do! And I found a great article by Karen Jowers of the Navy Times, who agrees with me:
“’Tis the season when our hearts are warmed by that giving spirit, and we madly search for the perfect gift for second-cousin Clara.
But before you pull out the plastic, think carefully about how long it will take you to pay off your credit card bill, and what kind of impact it could have on your finances.
In fact, here’s a new idea: Before you even set off on a shopping trip, be it online or to a department store, get the cold, hard facts about your finances.”
Click here to read about Jowers’ suggestions for paying special attention to your finances and credit score during the season when both probably need it the most.
As a matter of fact, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Foundation is offering a free FICO credit score to the first 5,000 Military Times readers–active-duty members and/or their spouses–who ask for one, in an effort to help consumers stay on top of their finances this holiday season when shopping, parties, and travel tend to put a strain on the purse strings. Super idea, even better if folks actually take advantage and give the ole credit score some attention before doing any damage to it this season!