Holiday Spending & Saving

Celebrate the Holidays & New Year with a New Financial You

The holiday reports are in! Retail spending will increase across the board by about three percent this year, reaching its highest point since the Great Recession. Many reports also show that people are feeling more secure about their finances as a whole and are planning their purchases more strategically. We want to celebrate this fact by encouraging Military Savers to take these good financial habits with them into the New Year.

Please share the article, social media content, and resources provided with your constituents, your partners, and the general public. As always, please encourage individuals to take the Military Saves Pledge—an important step in creating a plan to reach their savings or debt reduction goals. After all, those with a plan are more likely to achieve their goals!

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Five Steps to a New Financial You in 2017

Holiday shoppers have been careful each holiday season to make their lists and check them twice. Budgets have become more discerning, and savers have become better planners for their holiday spending, prioritizing savings along the way.

According to a September 2016 report, two out of five millennial shoppers got a head start this year and had started buying gifts for the season before summer had even come to a close.

These successful financial habits don’t have to stop there. With the New Year comes an opportunity to make some improvements to your financial health. Don’t make just another resolution that disappears by Valentine’s Day. Take your financial wellness to a whole new level: a New Year, a new financial you.

These five steps will help you to establish your best financial path for 2017, and you can have all the heavy lifting done before the clock strikes twelve:

  1. Take stock of your finances. Take account of all your income, expenses, and existing savings/investment accounts. And no matter how nice you were, don’t forget to include any naughty debts you may have incurred in the spirit of the season.
  2. Sketch out a budget “template” for the year to come. Think big picture. Plan your holiday spending for 2016 with this handy worksheet from Military Saves and find the method for budgeting that you’re going to use in 2017, and rough out what you’d like it to look like from month to month. Be pragmatic about your needs and be honest about where your money is going in. Plan to make adjustments and really dig into your spending habits when you check back in on a regular basis.
  3. Check your credit report. It is your legal right to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Add a visit to AnnualCreditReport.com to the calendar as an annual “holiday” or divvy up the bureaus to get a free report from a different bureau every four months.
  4. Set up bank and credit alerts, and financial reminders. Whether you’re at your computer or on your mobile device, you are in an ideal position to receive notifications about upcoming payments, suspicious activities on an account, transactions over a certain dollar amount, low balances, and more. Find out what online services your financial institution(s) offer, and supplement what they don’t with an app or calendar reminder. It’s all right there at your fingertips.
  5. Make a commitment to yourself to save. Those who make a commitment to themselves and their family to save usually save more than those who don’t. Think of this as your New Year’s Resolution. Make your commitment today by taking the Military Saves Pledge and follow the prompts to sign up for text message tips and reminders. Get regular advice and support from Military Saves to help you save money!

A new financial you is an achievable goal for 2017. Join those savers who have successfully opted to reduce holiday spending and prioritize savings throughout the season. To learn more about spending and saving during the holidays and take the Military Saves pledge, visit MilitarySaves.org.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for Military/America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at militarysaves.org.

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Social Media Content

Share the following messages with your Facebook & Twitter followers.

#SavingsTipTuesday

Retailers will trick you into #spending money this #holiday season. Here's how: http://ow.ly/oK9D305Ytpm @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

"Make bite-sized money goals," like setting a spending limit this holiday season http://ow.ly/yEvt306ahfv @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Find the funds for the #holidays without #credit cards and #debt! Here's how: http://ow.ly/ToEn8 @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Make 2017 the year you're ready for life's gotcha moments! http://ow.ly/N8tM306chNp @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Take control of #saving & #spending during the #holidays- create a holiday budget! http://ow.ly/D4dJR @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

Insulate your #finances from seasonal chills this holiday season. http://ow.ly/QDyp306ciGG @MilitarySaves @FINRA_Investor #SavingsTipTuesday

Take these 10 steps to reduce your #holiday stress, expenses, and regrets: http://ow.ly/EavIN @MilitarySaves #SavingsTipTuesday

#SavingsFactFriday

You may spend $800 or more this holiday season on gifts. Plan with a FREE budget! http://ow.ly/vQ2H306ajFV @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

The average consumer will spend $1000 or more between Halloween & New Year's. http://ow.ly/ToD9D @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Spending on extras can blow your holiday budget. Make a plan & stick to it! http://ow.ly/D4fcB @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Setting reasonable expectations can keep your #holiday shopping in check. http://ow.ly/D4fus @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

#MilitaryConsumer is revamped with articles,/tips, including those on spending $. http://go.usa.gov/xkJdr @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

A list is different from a budget. And 6 other signs you may be spending too much. http://ow.ly/spVX306cjs0 @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

When you create your #budget, include extras, like holiday parties and meals. http://ow.ly/1yxF306ckoW @MilitarySaves #SavingsFactFriday

Additional Posts

Protect your #identity while #shopping online. Avoid public computers, & verify websites are secure. http://ow.ly/ToHcH @MilitarySaves

#Holiday #shopping with a #credit card? Calculate what it will take to pay off that #debt: http://ow.ly/ToND9 @MilitarySaves

Assess your current #financial stability to determine your approach to #holiday #spending: http://ow.ly/ToPhZ @MilitarySaves

The #costs of going home for the #holidays can be high. Use the Holiday Travel Planner to plan ahead: http://ow.ly/ToS5Q @MilitarySaves

Do you have a savvy tip or story about #holiday #savings? Share it with @MilitarySaves! http://ow.ly/eG4h306fniM

Ever wish you could just ask an economist? @AmericaSaves did! Here's what they had to say about holiday spending: http://bit.ly/2efx07w @MilitarySaves

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Twitter Chat

Please join @AmericaSaves and @MilitarySaves on Thursday, December 8th at 2pm Eastern for a 45-minute power chat on savings and financial habits during and after the holidays.

Americans plan to spend over $900 on their holiday shopping this year. It makes sense when you add up all the travel, meals, gifts, tips, and even the lights! Please join our Twitter conversation to discuss how to set a holiday budget, limit spending, and establish good savings habits for the New Year.

Hashtag: #HolidaySavings

Featuring:

Aaron Klein, fellow of economic studies at Brookings Institution (@Aarondklein)

Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at CATO Institute (@MarkCalabria)

Topic: Holiday Habits: Spending Less and Saving More

When: Thursday, December 8 at 2pm Eastern (iCalendar | Google Calendar |  Outlook | Yahoo)

Easy ways to follow the chat: Twubs or tchat.io.

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Holiday Spending + Savings in the News

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Tip of the Day

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    The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. Sign up or get more info at tsp.gov

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