Ready for Christmas?

Are you ready for Christmas?

I know, it seems like the holiday season is a long way off, doesn’t it?  But, the reality is you’ll start shopping in October and that’s only four months away.  120 days.  And that’s really not long at all, is it?

So, again I ask the question, are you ready for Christmas?

If not, then it’s time to start planning for this year’s gift giving season so that when the time does come, you’re ready.  Now, typically there are two ways to pay for Christmas.  Cash or Credit.  If you choose to pay with cash, then it’s time to start saving money every time you get paid.  And then, don’t spend it.

One of the best ways to save money for Christmas, or a vacation, or new furniture, or any really large purchase is to get yourself a prepaid card.  Then, you simply have your employer automatically transfer a portion of your payroll check into your prepaid card account and then, when you’re ready to start Christmas shopping (or go on vacation or whatever), the money is already there.

Not a bad way to pay for the upcoming holiday season, is it?

Of course, if cash is not the way you plan to pay, then you’d better get busy working on your credit too!  Now, there are lots of options to apply for new credit cards, store cards, and so forth, but are you sure you’ll be approved?  Remember, you don’t want to apply for too many credit cards during the course of the year – it can really hurt your credit score.  And, if you do apply, you want to make sure that you’ll be approved (this is really important if your credit score is less than perfect).

One option with guaranteed approval is a secured credit card.  With a secured card, you’ll need to pay a deposit up front, and then the creditor will extend the same amount of credit to you.  You’ll use the card for purchases, make payments (including interest), and so forth, just like a regular credit card.  But, as I mentioned, you’ll have to have money up front for your deposit.  And that’s not quite the goal here, is it?  No, we’re planning for Christmas and if we had the cash for the deposit, we wouldn’t need to be looking at our options.  So, let’s move on.

The other option that I really like (and have used myself) is to open a Fingerhut Credit Account.  Not only does Fingerhut typically approve nearly everyone, but they also are really good about reporting your responsible credit use and regular payment history to the credit bureau every month.  And when it comes to great deals, including special interest free purchasing periods, increases in your credit line, and brand name merchandise, Fingerhut is hard to beat.  You simply get online, browse from among hundreds of thousands of competitively priced products, and they’ll ship your order right to your door!  It really is that easy.

But don’t just take my word for it – check out what Fingerhut has to offer you TODAY.

Improve Your Financial Future

We all plan for the future… we plan our career, plan our relationships, plan for a new home, a new car, children. But have your planned your financial future? And, if you have, have you planned the steps you will take to improve your financial future? I know, you think that financial security will just automatically come with your other plans, but the reality is, unless you take the steps to make sure that your financial future is secure, those other plans may not fall into place quite as easily as you think.

So, what can you do to ensure that your financial future is as bright and shining as you envision? What improvements can you make now that will lead to the financial security that you dream about?

First and probably foremost, if you’re an adult, and you’ve completed your education, have landed your first grown up job, and maybe bought that first car or rented that first apartment, then it’s time to make sure that you’re paying all of your bills yourself. Too many young people these days depend on their parents to carry certain expenses that they should be paying for themselves, and we, as a society, have contributed to the expectation that our parents “owe” us this continued financial support. I mean, realistically, should your parents continue to pay for your car insurance? Your cell phone bill? Or, even more importantly, if you have a good job and have the opportunity to carry your own health insurance, should you stay on your parents’ insurance plan just because the federal government says you can until you turn 26? The answer is no. Your parents have worked hard all their lives for their money, and as an adult, it’s time that you cut the purse strings and support yourself with your earnings. Yes, you may have to make some sacrifices. You may not have the money to buy everything that you want, but if you’re careful and live within your means, you will find that you’re much more content knowing that you’re paying your own way. (And I guarantee that your parents will be thrilled when you do finally cut those purse strings!)

Secondly, when you do get a job with the benefits that are so important to your future, make sure that you take advantage of contributing to whatever retirement plan is available, regardless of where you are working. So what if you are starting out in a job that you only plan to keep a short while? Sometimes, plans change and we end up staying with a company far longer than we thought we would. If you change jobs later on, you can always roll over any savings that you’ve accumulated into the new plan or into a separate plan. Retirement may seem like a long way off at first, but believe me, life happens and one day you’ll be glad that you saved as much as you did when you had the chance.

Third, start working on your credit. It can take years to establish good or even excellent credit, and if your credit score is low or non-existent, it can affect your ability to get a better job, to buy your first brand new car, or even get the mortgage you need to buy your first home when the time comes. So pay attention now and make things easier on yourself later.

Finally, set aside an emergency fund, and keep adding to it every time you get paid. Let’s face it, we all need to have a cushion to fall back on when times get tough. It may be something as small as a new set of tires, or as big as having to support yourself for a few months in the event that you lose your job, but whatever the reason, you need to have a savings account to cover those little (or big) emergencies that crop up!

Although these might seem like no-brainers to some, you would be amazed at the number of people who haven’t even started planning for the future financially. Do yourself a favor. Start now. Today. Trust me, tomorrow will be here before you know it!