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Your Spending Habits and Your Holiday Spirit

The Average American’s Holiday Spending Habits

Already thinking about everything you have to do for the holiday season? Does the thought of holiday preparation stress you out? According to the National Retail Federation, it was estimated that the average American spent $77.52 on candy, costumes and decorations for Halloween in 2014. According to a CNBC report, the average American planned to spend $765 on Christmas for the holiday season as well. Is this how much you will spend this year? To avoid answering yes to this question, start planning ways to save money now.

Holiday Money Saving Tips

Shop with a Gratitude Attitude

The first, and possibly greatest, thing that you can do to save money this season is to adjust the way you THINK about the holidays. Rather than getting caught up in the commercials, products, and social pressures, concentrate on the things you already have in your life that you can use or recycle and the people you already have in your life to whom you can show love and appreciation. Concentrate more on the FEELING that you can give someone else rather than the MATERIALS you can give them. For Halloween, get creative and make your own costumes during a Family Craft Night. Change your spending habits by making it about the experience rather than shopping. Can’t afford to make or host a big dinner? Plan a family movie night, rent scary movies, and gorge on popcorn and pizza.

Make Random Acts of Kindness a Holiday Norm

Instead of buying gifts, clean the car or house for your spouse, make a collage of old photos for a friend or family member, call a distant friend or relative and leave a Christmas Carol voicemail to spread cheer over the phone, make a list of reasons why you love someone or appreciate someone, write a song or poem for them, and make decorations using household items such as a string of popcorn. Use this new mentality to set the tone for your entire family. For any other holiday necessities, you can financially prepare to save money by creating a budget and setting aside a small amount every week or paycheck. Just remember though, gratitude, love, and the right mentality can save you and your family A ton of money this holiday season, especially if you are all on the same page.

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    Fall Money Saving Tips

    Cutting Costs at Home

    There are many ways you can save money and have fun doing it this holiday season. Falling leaves and decomposing Jack-o-Lanterns are the perfect way to start a compost pile this fall. Starting now means you’ll be one step ahead when spring arrives.

    Make sure your roof is free of holes, destruction and critters; if it isn’t, repair the damage or shoo the animals away. Assess the gutters as well as the chimney. Nothing is worse than a cold, rainy winter inside the home without a fireplace. Repairing now helps ensure you don’t have any last minute problems during the winter.

    It’s also very important to weatherproof your home. Chances are, you’ll be using your heater this winter. Rather than lose all of that precious heat, weatherproof your windows, doors and anything else you can think of.

    Restock on winter essentials before they’re all snatched up. Coats, food, gloves and boots are some important winter items that disappear as it gets closer to December.

    Shopping on a Budget

    The holidays are almost upon us, and that means holiday shopping is close at hand. If you start shopping around in October and November, it will be a lot easier to pick up the perfect present than if you were to wait closer to Christmas time.

    So many fruits and vegetables come into season in the fall, so don’t forget to stock up. Not only will you get cheaper produce, but it will be nice and fresh. And as always, use coupons to save even more.

    Look out for fall and holiday deals and coupons. There’s something about the festive, fall season that puts stores in such a great mood. So many places are offering seasonal items for super cheap; it’d be a shame if you didn’t partake.

    Lowering Travel Expenses

    If you’ll be flying at some point during fall, purchase tickets in the middle of the week. Most sales occur Tuesday through Thursday, so when planning a trip buy on the less busy days.

    Compare round-trip flights to one-way flights. Sometimes flying round-trip isn’t necessarily the best deal. If you can save more on two tickets, take that deal.

    Luggage and travel accessories are going on sale during this time of the year. If you’re in need of a new suitcase, now’s the time to buy one for that vacation coming up.

    Your Entertainment Costs

    Bike riding is a great way to let off steam in the cool air, while also getting where you want to go! Exercising and saving money never felt so good.

    Take a walk with the family. Play board games with your kids and significant other by the fireplace instead of sitting in front of the TV. Find new and fun ways to spend time with those you love. Parks are also a great place to go; they’re usually free and offer many great family-friendly amusements.

    Harvest festivals, farmers markets, and city events are a super fun and cheap way to get outside as well. Pumpkin patches offer a great time for you and your kids, and spending time together is always a beautiful fall activity.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Student Loan Info You Need to Know

      Learning Student Loans: Understand and Prepare for the Cost of Your Education

      Looking for more information about student loans, their features, and repayment options? Christian Credit Counselors, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) with a mission to provide free financial education to individuals and families both locally and nationwide, is now offering a free, online webinar entitled Learning Student Loans: Understand and Prepare for the Cost of Your Education. Christian Credit Counselors is committed not just to helping people get out of debt, but providing them with free resources and education to STAY out of debt and live a life of financial freedom.

      The Learning Student Loans webinar is designed to give you an overview of the types and features of student loans so that you can make the best, most informed decision on your journey to obtain the education you need for your career and life. The webinar will discuss free financial aid options, loan types, repayment plans, loan consolidation, forbearance, deferment, loan forgiveness, what to do if your loan is in default, and useful resources that will help you stay in control of your loan and payments. Whether you already have a student loan or you are thinking about getting one in the near or distant future, this webinar will help inform you of your loan and repayment options so that you are best prepared to pay back your loan successfully.

      Click on the video below to view the webinar.

       

      Click here to download the free handout:

      When you are done with the webinar video you can also take a quick survey by using the button below:

      If you have questions or would like more information, email education@christiancreditcounselors.org or call 1-800-557-1985 ext. 131.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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        Credit Conscious Living Webinar

        Credit Conscious: The Ins and Outs of Credit

        Looking to build, maintain, or improve your credit? Christian Credit Counselors, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) with a mission to provide free financial education to individuals and families both locally and nationwide, is now offering a free, online webinar entitled, Credit Conscious: The Ins and Outs of Credit. Christian Credit Counselors is committed not just to helping people get out of debt, but providing them with free resources and education to STAY out of debt and live a life of financial freedom.

        The Credit Conscious webinar will teach you the ins and outs of credit and give you the tools you need to obtain and build, improve, and wisely use credit. You will also learn to research credit reports and scores, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a consumer. Whether you are trying to climb out of mounting debt or you simply want to learn how to view your credit report online, this webinar is a great tool in understanding credit so you can make the best decisions to achieve your financial goals.

        Click on the video below to view the webinar.

        Click here to download the free handout:

        When you are done with the webinar video you can also take a quick survey using the button below:

        If you have questions or would like more information, email education@christiancreditcounselors.org or call 1-800-557-1985 ext. 131.

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips:

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          Debt Counseling – Three Sign You Need it

          Debt Counseling Candidates

          Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious that someone needs debt counseling.  After all, you know when you’re in debt.  You know when you’ve spent money on credit without paying it off.  You know when you’ve taken out loans.  It all sounds simple enough.

          But, for some people, financial matters are anything but simple.  They keep trying to keep track of their money but find themselves floundering all the time.  If you suspect that your financial problems are beyond your control, then ask yourself the following questions to figure out if you need debt counseling:

          If you have Loan Payments

          Everyone’s taken out loans at one point or the other.  You may have done so to pay for your studies or for medical expenses.  If you don’t remember how much money you took out as a loan or how much of it is still remaining to be paid, then you’re probably in need of debt counseling.

          Sometimes, people deliberately ignore the notices that come to their door because they don’t want to see the sum they owe going further and further up due to lack of payment.  If this describes you, then you probably need debt counseling.

          If you have Credit Card Debt

          If you can’t even remember how many credit cards you have and what the interest rates are on each of them, then chances are you owe quite a bit of money and need debt counseling.  Most of us have a few credit cards but it’s important to keep checking how much you owe on a monthly basis and paying that sum off little by little.  If you are in the habit of only making  your minimum payments, you’re probably running  a huge tab which consists mostly of the interest on your purchases.

          If you can’t Afford your Basic Necessities

          Everyone needs food, clothing and shelter in order to live.  You don’t absolutely need to have additional comforts or luxuries but these three items are non-negotiable.  If you find that you’re struggling to make ends meet where food, clothing and shelter are concerned, then you probably need debt counseling.

          You shouldn’t have to pull out a credit card to pay for groceries.  And if your rent or mortgage payments are going through later and later in the month (or not going through at all), then there’s no shame in contacting us us at Christian Credit Counseling to help you with your problems.

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Credit Counseling – More than Debt Elimination

            American Debt

            In the wake of the Great Recession, Americans now owe approximately $721 billion in unsecured credit card debt. If you feel overwhelmed with credit card debt, if you juggle your expenses just to make the minimum payments, and if it seems the quality of your life has diminished because you worry about your finances, you are definitely not alone.

            Credit Counseling

            Credit counseling began in the United States in 1951, and despite the reputable credit counseling services available today, only a small percentage of Americans in debt seek help. It might be because they are uncertain what happens in credit counseling, or perhaps the fear involved with opening up about chaotic financial situations keeps people stuck in the debt cycle. It takes great courage to talk honestly with a credit counselor about the reality of your finances. At Christian Credit Counselors, we are always honored when a new client comes to us in trust.

            Christian Credit Counselors

            Christian Credit Counselors provides a unique service. We are a non-profit financial services company and our fully certified counselors have helped over 300,000 people bring their debt under control. Yet unlike other agencies, we understand that getting your financial life in order is about more than just your bank account. Christian credit counseling is about working with someone who shares your values. It means you will have a counselor who knows financial integrity brings renewed growth to your spiritual life. Our goal is to be your compassionate ally as we help get your life back on track. We will work with you to bring your financial life more into accordance with Biblical principles. We will even pray with you in your counseling sessions, if you so choose.

            Debt Management

            With a debt management program through Christian Credit Counselors, you make one affordable monthly payment and can generally become debt free in 3 to 5 years. But the stress of financial worry may start disappearing after you make the first phone call and realize you no longer have to face your situation alone.

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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              Debt Consolidation and Your Credit Score

              Your Financial Choices

              Every financial choice is going to affect your credit report.  The best thing to do is to make your monthly payments on time in full.  Unfortunately, this can’t always happen.  If your debt is out of control, you have the option to choose debt consolidation.  Is this the best decision for your credit report?

              Consolidating Your Debt Loan

              The goal of debt consolidation is to make it easier to pay off debt.  In turn, this will raise your credit score and improve your credit report – assuming you make the monthly payments without defaulting.  Debt consolidation also makes room for a new line of credit – assuming the debt is paid first.  Making the switch from two or three to one large sum is another story.  Is that the right move for your credit report?  The answer is yes.  Your credit report will show that the previous active accounts are closed and cured through consolidation.  The consolidation is a new account where you can start fresh.  However, some moves will hurt your credit score.

              In what form will the consolidation be?  Choose between a debt loan, debt management plan, home equity loan and a single credit card.  Preventing a drop in your credit scores depends on the strategies used when you choose a form of consolidation.  All of them have the ability to drop your credit score, but all of them can boost your credit score too.  You need an experienced company such as Christian Credit Counseling to assist you with choosing the best route for your finances.

              Lowering Your Monthly Payments

              How will it be easier to make monthly payments?  You have the choice of lowering your interest rate or increasing the amount of time it takes to pay it.  Extending monthly payments increases interest rate payments.  Lowering interest rates makes it easier to pay a little extra over the minimum balance.  It doesn’t matter which one is chosen, as soon as this is paid off completely you can add a new credit account.

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                Debt Counseling After a Medical Event

                Unexpected Financial Catastrophes

                We never want to imagine what could happen if our spouse had a stroke or severe heart attack. We believe we’ve planned well for any medical needs. We’ve got enough savings to tide us over. Our health insurance will cover every possible cost. We’ll be fine.

                Unfortunately, medical catastrophes are among the most common reasons for a couple or family to experience severe debt. It’s difficult to cope physically and emotionally with a medical catastrophe; add financial trouble to the mix and your mind struggles to sort it all out.

                Health Insurance and Medical Bills

                The pressure often becomes unbearable. Even if you have good health insurance, medical bills for a sudden injury or illness can pile up. Those unexpected co-pays, deductibles, and any supplies or medications that aren’t covered can be a very unpleasant surprise. A home-use hospital bed doesn’t come cheap. Neither does skilled nursing care.

                Your loved one’s medical needs continue after being released from the hospital, but you may not be able to take time from your job to perform the multiple tasks. A family member may not be available to help either.

                You will need to keep complete and accurate records and submit claims to the insurance company. Follow-up doctor appointments will need to be kept. What about physical therapy or rehabilitation? What if your spouse needs counseling to help him cope with the loss of independence? What if you need counseling in order to cope with the disability?

                Weighing the Financial Alternatives

                You want the best available care for your loved one. Everybody does. But the bills can still mount up. It’s easy to find yourself with a mountain of debt through no fault of your own. Filing bankruptcy is an option, but not a good one. It costs a significant amount of money, not to mention the detrimental effect on your credit rating.

                Christian Credit Counseling has been helping people just like you resolve debt issues for over twenty-three years. We understand the financial problems that can overwhelm you. We also understand the emotional costs.

                We will arrange a repayment plan that fits your needs perfectly. There will be no damage to your credit history. And we will not only pray for you, but rejoice with you as you gradually pay off your creditors until everything is listed as “Paid in Full”.

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                  Credit Counseling – The Financial Adavantage

                  The Credit Counseling Advantage

                  We are impressed with the power of credit counseling, and you should be too. In fact, here’s how credit counseling can change things for you:

                  Get Out of Debt Fast

                  Our certified credit counselors are available from 6am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Our offices are also located in San Diego, CA. Our goal during our time with you is to help get you out of debt. How do we achieve this?

                  We deal with all of your creditors. We negotiate your rates and you send us one monthly payment that we will send to your creditors. We also give you tools and methods to stay out of debt for good! Our mandate as a non-profit is to educate our customers so they can lead the life that God has intended for each of us.

                  We will help you to avoid any fees or charges that your creditors have made against you. We will also get your interest rate lowered, as well as the total cost of a payment that you owe. By setting up arrangements with your creditors, we help you to avoid creditor harassment. This means no more calls asking for payments.

                  Financial Freedom

                  With payments being made to one place, this can help to reduce stress and get your credit back in shape quickly. You will know where your money is going and that it is being used to positively affect your credit score. With a higher credit score, you have the financial freedom to lower interest rates on future loans, get the loans you need for a home, car, education and more.

                  Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                    Debt Counseling Firms – Signs to Look For

                    Drowning in Debt

                    When you are drowning in debt and can’t seem to make a dent, it may feel as if there is no answer. Many individuals want to avoid filing for bankruptcy if possible because of the long-term negative effects. However, few know about the alternatives that are available. Debt counseling can help you get back on track financially, as long as you choose the right firm.

                    A Non-Profit Organization

                    There are many for-profit companies that claim to help you get out of debt more quickly. However, these businesses are looking to make money themselves. This means they aren’t likely to find you the lowest interest rates and may even turn debtors away because they don’t think it is worth the effort. A non-profit organization is typically only involved to help people. Money isn’t a factor.

                    Accessibility

                    Debt counseling isn’t something that can often be completed in one session. You may need to talk to a representative multiple times to complete the tasks. Because of this fact, it is essential to choose a firm that can be accessed through email or phone for the best response times. Look for a company that offers extended hours and a toll-free number to make communication easier.

                    Experience and Qualifications

                    Debt consolidation is a sensitive matter. You need to be certain you are working with a firm that can give you the results you are looking for. As you evaluate each firm, check into the amount of experience they have, how many creditors they work with and what qualifications their counselors must go through. This will ensure you make the right choice to eliminate your debt more quickly.

                    If you are interested in debt counseling, it is time to learn what to look for. When you understand what a good firm will offer, you can increase the chances of making the right choice and decrease your risks of getting scammed. After all, the end goal is to eliminate your debt, not find yourself in deeper financial problems.

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