SAN DIEGO, CA - This timely reminder about
planning ahead for Holiday spending comes from Jim
Garnett, a/k/a Ask MrG, who is a member of the ICFE Board
of Advisors and the Education Coordinator for Consumer
Credit of America a/k/a Consumer Credit of Des Moines.
To have a question answered by Jim, contact him at:
1. Plan Your Christmas. Think about Christmas before it is
upon you by setting aside money year round through a
"Christmas Club", a special savings account, or by saving
change in a bottle. Also shop for bargains in January for
2. Proportion Your Christmas. Your gifts should be
proportioned by what you can afford, not by what you have
access to buy. Most of us have access to more credit than
we ever need. Determine what you can afford by how much
actual money you can spend toward Christmas. And be sure
you are the person who determines affordability; the
salesperson will not be there to help you pay the bill as
it comes due.
3. Pay For Your Christmas. Christmases charged on credit
cards can easily come back to "haunt" us. Consider that
the average amount charged on credit cards for Christmas
is around $1000 per family. If minimum payments are made
toward that debt at 12% interest, it will take over 8
years to repay it with an additional $545 interest charge.
That means your kindergartner's Christmas won't be paid
off until he graduates from 8th grade! And that is only
one Christmas. Often our Christmas debt is "layered" year
after year! It is much better to simply pay for your
Christmas each year within the boundaries of what you can
4. Personalize Your Christmas. Why not put some real
thought into this Christmas and make something instead of
buy something. Gifts like baked goods, handmade ornaments,
or even pictures of the kids give your Christmas the
personal touch. You will substitute labor and creativity
for cost, and your gifts will be just as, if not more so,
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), founded in 1982 by the
late Loren Dunton (creator of the certified financial planner' (CFP)
designation) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFEs on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
http://www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.