Ring in the New Year with a New Financial You

The holiday reports are in! Retail spending will increase across the board by about 3% 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 savers to take these good financial habits with them into the New Year. Please share the article, social media content, graphics, and resources provided with your constituents, partners, and the general public.

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5 Steps to a New Financial You in 2017

Holiday shoppers have been careful each 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 America 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. 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 America Saves Pledge and get regular advice and support from America Saves while 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 America Saves pledge, visit AmericaSaves.org.

Bonus Content: Hear from two economists about holiday saving and spending in this video that is full of tips and advice from America Saves.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for 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 AmericaSaves.org.

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Social Media Content

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#SavingsTipTuesday

Take control of spending & #saving during the #holidays; create a plan! http://ow.ly/fM4r305sEE1 @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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Get your holiday planning started off right with this free download from @AmericaSaves http://bit.ly/2e8XoQj #SavingsTipTuesday
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Set realistic expectations for #holiday spending with family & friends >> http://ow.ly/zKYU305sFhR via @AmericaSaves
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Seeking out discounts can #save you a bundle during holiday travel >> http://ow.ly/QQlR305sF85 #SavingsTipTuesday @AmericaSaves
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Avoid any nasty surprises this #holiday season by budgeting for the "extras" >> http://ow.ly/WYay305sFVE via @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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#SavingsFactFriday

Watching your accounts during the #holidays can help protect your identity >> http://ow.ly/q9Ns305sFog @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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You can beat the #holiday financial blues w/a little careful planning >> http://ow.ly/iosi305sEb6 via @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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The most effective way to keep your festivities #frugal is #saving automatically. http://ow.ly/6uSj305sEkU @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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If you don't have a #holiday budget, you might be spending too much $$ >> http://ow.ly/tcHS305sF0w #SavingsFactFriday @AmericaSaves
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Setting clear gift-giving expectations will help avoid #holiday splurging >> http://ow.ly/Pa7x305sFCw via @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Additional Posts

.@AmericaSaves challenges you again to #save $1 for every $1 you spend. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds >> http://ow.ly/mTGb305sELE
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Plan your holiday spending this year and you could win $50 from @AmericaSaves >> http://bit.ly/2e8XoQj #HolidaySavings
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2 of 5 #millennial spenders have already started buying presents >> http://ow.ly/Nc2M305sDQ3 via @Forbes @AmericaSaves
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Ever wish you could just ask an economist? @AmericaSaves did! Here's what they had to say about holiday spending: http://bit.ly/2efx07w
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Set your #NewYears goal, make a plan, #save automatically – pledge to #save today! >> http://ow.ly/GV2w305sEUO via @AmericaSaves
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Do you have a savvy tip or story about #holiday #savings? Share it w/ @AmericaSaves! You could win $25!  >> http://ow.ly/cdPi305sEQt
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America Saves Twitter Chat

Please join @AmericaSaves 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.

Q1: How big of an impact does holiday spending have on our economy

Q2: Where or how did you shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? 

Q3: What impact does online shopping have on our spending habits?

Q4: What is the best way to plan a holiday budget and stick to it?

Q5: How can we limit holiday spending or stretch it out over time?  

Q6: What are some tips for using credit responsibly over the holidays?

Q7: What are some tips to cut gift-giving costs?

Q8: How can we give the gift of savings?

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Relevant Resources

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From America Saves

Blog Articles

Resources + Research

Holiday Spending + Savings in the News

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America Saves Week

February 27 - March 4, 2017.

An annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

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Tip of the Day

  • Set your savings goal, make a plan, and save automatically. Pledge to #save today! >> http://bit.ly/2jxRoi9 via @AmericaSaves #ASW17

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