Pointe Coupee Electric provides tips on how to avoid financial “Holiday Hangover”

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

NEW ROADS - The holidays are right around the corner, and if you’re like most people, travel and festivities can put quite a dent in your wallet. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right planning now, you can avoid paying for the holidays well into the new year.

Here are some smart moves to help control your expenses and keep you from racking up a lot of holiday-related debt:

Consider how you will get there. If you’re not celebrating locally, try to determine the most economical way to get to your destination. Can you drive, or is it essential that you fly? (If you have to transport three or more people, for instance, driving a distance of 6-8 hours or less might save a significant amount of money.) If you need to fly, consider purchasing your plane tickets as early as you can. Over the past few years, the longer flyers have waited, the more airline tickets have cost as the holidays approached.

Gifts, gifts, and more gifts. Let’s be honest: Do you overspend on gifts? Talk with your friends and family about doing less this year - perhaps with a group activity, such as a “Secret Santa,” where there’s a set budget and each person buys for just one other. Some families agree to buy only for children. Regardless, begin as far ahead of the holidays as possible so you can buy gifts gradually - and on sale - whenever possible. And paying for your purchases in cash can help avoid staggering credit card bills (that only increase with their interest rate) after you’ve rung in the new year.

Consider when you’ll celebrate the holidays. It’s not for everyone, but some people actually celebrate the holidays at different times. You can save substantially on travel during off-peak times, and, if you buy gifts later, you could also take advantage of post-holiday sales. 

Start thinking about next year. Following the same “plan ahead” theme, it’s not too early to think about the 2014 holidays. Setting aside just a few dollars a week - starting now - can help you save the money you’ll need for next year.

Planning ahead for the holidays will help you make smart financial decisions: ones that may help you avoid a holiday hangover. For assistance in reaching any of your financial goals, you may wish to consult a financial professional.

Pointe Coupee Electric is your electric cooperative that has been providing services to parts of Iberville, Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes for over 75 years.