Spending wisely during the holidays

The holidays are a good time to review the importance of budgets.

Notebook and a pen
Photo by NORTHFOLK on Unsplash

As a part of managing your money, it is always important to spend within your means, know what you have, save some, and perhaps share or give some. These thoughts and ideas apply year-round, but at holiday time, the awareness of money management can be heightened.

I had a personal experience recently that reminded me of how important it is to use a budget and spend within your means. With the holidays upon us, I received a letter from one of my banks giving me the option to skip a loan payment in order to have more dollars free to spend. Think about this idea for a moment. This can be a very enticing offer, but it comes with consequences. Michigan State University Extension  recommends considering the following related to this sort of option:

  • It does not make the loan payment go away; an individual is still responsible for that payment.
  • The duration of a person’s loan just got longer; the payment was just postponed.
  • Budgeting is important so that a person always spends within their means.

Through Michigan 4-H Youth Development there are a variety of educational tools and resources available to teach young people about budgeting and money management. Some of our resources used by volunteers may also be very helpful to adults and families. 4-H offers many opportunities for young people to learn about personal finance, including fund-raising for their club or a community service project, participating in clubs dedicated to investment, tracking their own project expenses, and selling their own market animal at the fair.

The budget page of our website shares that a budget is a plan for how to spend and save money. Budgets include how much someone may need to spend on necessities, how much an individual will put aside for savings, and how much a person can use for their wants. Budgeting is an important step in reaching financial goals while not overspending.

In addition, MSU Extension has some useful news articles posted online that provide important financial management tips including:

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or entrepreneurship, email us at 4-HCareerPrep@anr.msu.edu.

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