Monthly Archives: December 2013

Already Over Budget For the Holidays?

Control Holiday SpendingThe holidays are upon us, and so is the season of overeating and overspending. Although the average person only gains two to five pounds during the holidays, that same person may pile on 40 percent more debt on their credit cards during that same time.

And here’s another statistic: the average consumer will spend $786 on holiday gifts this year, and 30% will spend more than $1000. Do you have an extra $700 laying around this month?

It’s a bit late to do anything about this year’s holiday spending, but let’s talk about what you can do next year. How about a Christmas Club account at your local credit union? If you start your 2014 holiday saving next month, you can save for the holidays a little at a time, which is way better than racking up your credit cards the last month of the year.

According to this article in The Wichita Eagle, Christmas Club accounts (and layaway options at retails stores) used to be popular avenues to keep holiday spending under control.

“More than four decades ago, layaway was a common method used by consumers to pay for holiday gifts. So, too, were Christmas Club savings accounts, which allowed consumers to routinely set aside a certain amount of money and, at the end of a 12-month period, withdraw the amount they had saved plus interest, then use that to pay for Christmas.”

So, to keep you in the black for next holidays season, determine your budget for the holidays, and start setting aside money monthly in January. These funds should be in addition to your regular savings goals and budget requirements.

Yes, we know it’s hard, especially when those holidays bills start rolling in. Keep in mind you may need to cut back on your spending for a few months to get yourself back on track…just like you’ll need to cut back on those holiday sweets so you can quit wearing those sweatpants.

By starting your holiday saving now, you won’t put yourself into holiday debt then and the holidays might be more enjoyable for you.

As for the overeating…well, we can’t help you with that!

2013 Debt Statistics

More than two million Americans sought the help of a financial counselor in 2013.

Here’s why: According to this cool infographic (from our friends at Advantage Credit Counseling Service), the average client seeking help had $43,000 in debt.

2013 Debt Statistics for US Consumers

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

[ Your Photo Here ] Wichita area credit union members

Your-photo-here-for-blog-postTrying to pay down debt? You are not alone.
Eight in 10 Americans are too. So why not get some help?

Money Possible is looking for Wichita area credit union members who want to receive financial counseling, plus learn ways to help pay down your debt.

This campaign is loosely based on “The Biggest Loser” TV show, but instead of losing “physical” weight, participants will lose “financial” weight. And you won’t event have to take your shirt off…

Financial weight? What?

That’s right. Financial weight…the amount of debt people have. The average American is thousands of dollars in debt which includes credit card debt, loans and plain old “I owe Uncle Jimmy $200” type debt.

Who are we looking for?
Ideal candidates have some kind of debt, and don’t mind sharing on local media, social media and this blog.

“Oh no, I don’t want to share my personal financial issues!”

Have you seen what people share on Facebook?

All kidding aside, think of it this way. The majority of American have some kind of debt. We’re all in the same boat. Not only will you be on your way to financial health, you will be inspiring others to do the same.

A group of people cheering you through success or encouraging you through challenges just might be what you need to get your finances under control. And we’re hoping to find three individual or family credit union members, so you won’t be alone in the program.

What you’ll do
You will meet weekly (for 16 weeks) with a financial counselor from the consumer credit counseling service, who will evaluate your current situation and map out your road to success.

Each week you’ll write a blog post…a little something about what you’re doing.

  • This could be as easy as “we found out we spend way too much on Cheez-Its, so instead of buying 25 boxes a month, we’ll only buy 10 boxes…which will save us $37.50 per month. We’ll take the money we saved and apply it to one of our credit card debts. In three months we’ll have paid down $100 toward our debt.”
  • It could be something you learned about credit reports, or that some debt is actually good debt.
  • You could write about a setback you’ve come up against…an unexpected expense and how you are coping with the situation.
  • The post could be that you helped your fourth grader calculate the difference between a name brand item and a generic item and how much you will save in a year if you went with the less expensive version.

The ideas are endless…and if you’re stuck, we’ll help provide you with some ideas.

Oh, and there’s the TV element
Some of your sessions will be recorded and your updates will air on a local TV station. Don’t worry, we won’t share your confidential information or even make you talk on live TV (unless you really want to). You might be interviewed for brief segments, but you’ll be talking about yourself, which you’re already an expert on, right?

When does all this start?
You will begin your sessions in mid-February and continue through mid-May. The TV campaign will air March through mid-June.

So…are you up for it? Visit your Wichita area credit union for an application form. But hurry, they are due back to the credit union on December 20. Selected participants will be notified in mid-January.

The campaign is a partnership between Wichita area credit unions, the Kansas Credit Union Association and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

Follow along on twitter: #moneypossible

For questions, contact Melissa Baptista, (316) 942-7965, ext. 3016.