The founder of LearnVest shares tips on getting the most bang for your buck and avoiding financial woes
Alexa von Tobel is the creator of LearnVest, a personal finance site to empower women to take control of and manage their personal finances. The site features money-tracking tools, financial experts and budgeting options so you know exactly where your money is going, which is particularly helpful for holiday spending.
“14.1 million Americans are carrying debt from last holiday season,” Alexa told genConnect. “You know, you run crazy during the holidays, you get really overly excited, people spend on average $712 dollars, and then you think about it. A year from now think about carrying that debt, you don’t want that. So ultimately the goal is, enjoy the holidays, live them up to the fullest, but without putting your finances in jeopardy for years to come.”
Avoid additional overspending this yuletide season with these tips from Alexa:
1. Old Fashioned Shopping List
“Make a list: who are you buying gifts for, who do you need to buy gifts for, what’s the range you want to buy them in,” Alexa advised. “Put it in your pocket, purse or wallet and carry it with you. That will actually be ever-present to help make sure you don’t overspend.”
According to Alexa, retail stores and companies pull out all the stops to loosen our purse strings during the holidays. Simple things like large shopping carts and festive music often go unnoticed but are a major cause of overspending. “If you run around with an oversized shopping cart, you are thirty seven percent more likely to spend than you would be if you were carrying a small basket,” Alexa said. “People are seventeen percent more likely to spend when they are listening to holiday music. You will realize stores are blasting it. That’s not on accident. It’s because you get really excited and caught up in the season and tend to over purchase.”
3. Use Cash Instead of Credit Cards
“People tend to be much smarter about spending if they are carrying things like a hundred dollar bill or fifty dollar bill in cash rather than their credit cards,” Alexa said. As it turns out, she said, studies show that people don’t like to break large bills. “Think about it: you are much more likely to break a five dollar bill than you are a fifty dollar bill,” she said. “Therefore it is really smart to walk around with cash when you’re doing your holiday shopping because you won’t have those impulse urges and you’ll be forty eight percent less likely to spend.”
Related: The Future of Money
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