How To Survive The Holidays

How To Survive The Holidays

The holiday season can be fun yet challenging. Everyone wants to share in showing appreciation and love for those they love. You could also spend a fortune in time and money if you are not careful. Here are some tips on how to avoid the catastrophe that will crush the most courageous at heart when it comes to surviving the holidays.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.
Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET!
Plan a budget for your holiday shopping and stick to it! There are coupons and more coupons that can help you stick to your budget. One trick that works for me is that I go into the store with a list of five things and purchase just those five things and come directly out of the store. This way, I am not overwhelmed with trying to buy everything on my list and I can better gauge what is being spent.

GO TO STORES AS SOON AS THEY OPEN
Going shopping first thing in the morning is a good thing because it will force you to shop with purchase and not casually shop. When you go shopping without a specific purpose for purchases you are more likely to buy things that are more expensive and not what you planned to buy.

RELAX AND ENJOY!
Just because you are shopping with a goal doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. After all, one of the joys of the holiday season is that you can relax and take in everything around you. So, go shopping and buy a couple of gifts and then go have a deliciously decadent lunch. The resume your shopping after you have enjoyed your lunch.

KNOW WHEN TO QUIT!
Don’t try to complete your list in one shopping trip. When you are tired you will make rash shopping decisions. Take your time and when you start to feel tired take a break.

Most of all, remember how blessed you are. Now there’s the things you can get for free to help with your budgetary goal. One of them is free Turbo Tax. Filing free Turbo Tax early as well as filing for free can help relieve some of the stress of spending.

Planning For Tax Changes

Potential changes in the tax laws proposed by President Obama mean that right now is a great time to start budgeting for your 2012 taxes.  One major change will be a change for those in the highest tax bracket from fifteen to nearly forty percent as part of sweeping increases in taxes collected from high-income individuals in the next ten years.

The plan calls for high taxes on earnings from dividends, a departure from earlier policies that protected earnings on this type of income.  The White House feels that the system for taxing investment earnings is one of the most unbalanced part of the current tax code, and this measure is one step to help fix the issue.

For those planning for their 2012 taxes, this means that individuals and couples need to begin looking at their investment income from previous tax years and determining whether they will be subject to these increased tax rates.  Setting aside additional money from a monthly or yearly budget to cover this potential tax increase is the best way to offset the effect of higher rates without suffering tax-time shock.

The overall goal of President Obama’s tax changes is to reduce the federal budget deficit that has plagued the US during this economic downturn.  While this change is not expected to eliminate the deficit entirely, it is part of a long term plan to use tax money from wealthy Americans to reduce the tax burden on lower income workers while still raising needed revenue.