Ah, the week before Christmas. That means a lot of people should just about be at the stage where any logic, budgeting, or living within our means, goes out the window. It’s normally right about now that lots of us go nuts with our spending. Don’t do it – slow down, go to the bank and get some cash. Paying with $20 bills has a real money feeling, instead of just swiping away with plastic! And your wallet will thank you for it in January.
Presents are not what Christmas is all about, at least for us adults. If you think back, some of the most memorable gifts weren’t the expensive ones. Better yet, can you remember exactly what you got for gifts last year? And it’s certainly not a contest to see who can be the most irresponsible and spend the largest amount of money.
Gift cards: Remember what we talked about last month. Be careful. You’re parting with cash and getting an I.O.U. That merchant has to be in business when the person goes to use the I.O.U. It’s perfectly fine to give cash. There’s no expiry date, no fees, and no limitations. Just put a note in there that your financial advisor (that’d be me you can blame) suggested you care enough not to send a risky gift card.
We talked a couple of times this past year about internet security and hackers getting into people’s bank accounts and on-line transactions. Are you, or do you know, a high net-worth individual that does on-line banking or accesses their brokerage accounts? If so, one of the best presents is a small notebook computer that ONLY gets used for on-line banking. That way, there’s no chance for anyone to hack into it, as it doesn’t get used for anything else on the internet!
Did you know that the Salvation Army just announced that their annual Kettle Drive is now credit card ready? You can just swipe and donate. I’m pretty ambivalent about that. I love people donating to charities and helping others, but I’m not sure it needs to be on 20% credit cards.