KristiLyn Wilkinson, M.S.
Utah Money Moms Contributor
Well gang, we finally made it to December 2020. I don’t know about you, but back in March when Utah shut down for a month, I didn’t expect to be writing about Christmas during COVID 9 months later… Alas, here we are, and we can still make it a holiday to remember- in a good way! You might not celebrate Christmas, but these same tips apply to whatever you are celebrating at this time of year. Depending on where you live, you may be experiencing different levels of gathering restrictions. In general, though, large group gatherings, concerts, programs, etc. are just not happening this year. This can potentially be a bonus for your wallet.
Guest Contributor: Emma Parkhurst, MS, CHES
USU Extension Assistant Professor
Did you know that couples who schedule “date nights” into their lives reduce the chance of divorce and increase marital happiness? Research shows that date nights provide an opportunity to communicate which can help strengthen understanding of one another; rekindle that ‘spark’ which can be helpful in sustaining that lovin’ feelin’ in the long run; and provide a way to relieve stress and give an opportunity to extend emotional support to one another. And to think we can reap all these benefits and more simply from date night? Count me in!
Another perk about date night? It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to spend some fun quality time together. Even though Monopoly isn’t my favorite way to spend some time together, here are some of my favorite free or cheap date ideas:
Amanda H. Christensen, AFC
USU Extension Associate Professor; Utah Money Moms Editor
I know you've seen it...many retailers are already promoting Black Friday deals and will continue to bombard us with a barrage of ads all month long. I've already started to feel a little FOMO. But before we jump the gun and dive in to holiday spending in 2020, I'd recommend a few things to help us stay savvy shoppers this season.
Tip 1: Starting early can help you spread holiday costs out over a few months rather than everything hitting your bank account in December or January. This also helps with our efforts to give thoughtful gifts-which is always our intention-but sometimes we run out of time and simply pull the trigger on something less meaningful or more expensive than we'd have hoped. Start early, check things off your list and unplug from the holiday hub-ub to enjoy the reason for the season.
Tip 2: Create a holiday spending plan. Don't forget to include the gift exchange at work or any neighbor gifts you'd like to give out. Traditional activity's may have costs associated with them so don't forget that either. Once you've listed everything, set a per-person (or per activity, etc.) spending limit. I like to use a free app like Santa's Bag (or something similar) because it helps me easily track my per-person spending and visually shows me my progress. What a per-person spending limit does is helps me focus on getting the best bang for my buck within that spending limit.
Tip 3: Keep good records such that if an item you’ve purchased goes on sale at a better price later in the season, you can be a savvy consumer and return the item or ask for the difference in store credit. As for physical receipts, during the holiday season I make space for them in my coupon/gift card organizer that’s in my purse and always with me. Digital receipts can be difficult to track as they can get buried in your email. It’s as simple as creating a “Christmas 2020” email folder and dragging all online order confirmations into that folder.
Tip 4: A savvy consumer takes advantage of the sales and knows when to stop spending. The "good deals" will keep coming. We'll be bombarded all through December as well so once you've reached that per-person spending limit and checked everything off your list, be done. Unplug. Last-minute impulse buys can be budget busters! The sale season is only working for you if you don’t continue to buy, buy, buy.
Guest Contributor: Tasha Killian
USU Extension Assistant Professor, Juan County
2020 has been a stressful year. From pandemics to natural disasters, and seemingly everything in between, we have faced a level of uncertainty many of us have never seen before. This uncertainty has led to stress and worry in all aspects of life, including finances. If you fall into this category of finding your financial life more stressful in this crazy year, know that first you are not alone. According to a study performed by a group of researchers in Canada, parents have reported a higher level of stress with 22% of mothers saying their financial stress has increased regarding the next 6 months of their future (Carroll, et al., 2020). With all this stress happening, it can almost seem like a gloom and doom case scenario. However, there are things you can do to help manage this stress, especially when it comes to your finances.
With so much that feels beyond our control, chaotic or hectic right now, it’s nice to revisit personal finance best-practices, which are completely within our control! The PowerPay Money Master Online Course is a video-based course with worksheets and further resources designed to help participants take a deeper dive into the topics they need most. This structure allows people to really tailor their course experience to their individual needs.
Come join the fun and strengthen your path to financial freedom with real-life money smarts and expert financial management tips designed to help you take control of your financial future. Can't wait to see you there!
-Excerpts from Utah State University Today article by Julene Reese
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