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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Share the following messages with your followers.
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.
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
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?
Share the following resources with your audience and with partnering organizations.
From America Saves
- Video: America Saves Conversation with Economists
- Beware of Holiday Budget Busters
- Finding the Funds for the Holidays
- It's the Holidays: Ready, Set, Shop!
- Last Minute #SavingsTips for Thanksgiving
- Protecting Your Identity during the Holiday Season
- Saving Money on Holiday Travel: College Edition
- Should You Consider an Extended Warranty?
- Six Warning Signs That You May Be Spending Too Much Money This Holiday Season
- Ten Terrific Tips to Take Charge of Holiday Spending
- The America Saves Holiday Savings Challenge
Resources + Research
- 2016 Holiday Outlook, PwC US
- Anticipated holiday spending on the rise; Two in 10 consumers have already started shopping for the holidays, The NPD Group
- Consumers Expect to Spend Slightly Less on Holidays This Year, Consumer Federation of America
- Consumers generally upbeat about finances but expect to spend the same or less on holiday gifts, Berkeley Research Group
- Consumer Spending Research, National Retail Federation (NRF)
- National Retail Federation Forecasts Holiday Sales to Increase 3.6%, NRF
- Holiday Shopping Habits 2016, Rubicon Project
Holiday Spending + Savings in the News
- Black Friday Sales That Aren’t Worth It, GOBankingRates
- Financial fine-tuning you must do before year's end, USA Today
- Holiday Outlook: Spending Up, Santa's Helpers Down, US News & World Report
- Is the Grinch at last banished from holiday spending? CBS MoneyWatch
- Low-income consumers plan to spend more this holiday, CNBC
- Poll: Holiday retail season starts too darn early, CreditCards.com
- Retail Spending to Grow by 3% This Holiday Season, TheStreet
- Steps to Take Now to Avoid Holiday Overspending, GoBankingRates
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Youth can learn how to save when provided appropriate products, services, and mechanisms. View the video below of our November 2, 2016 release of new research and panel discussions on the critical role that youth employment can play in young people’s financial success. The even featured programs, financial institutions, and youth themselves on the impact of employment programs providing direct deposit, access to accounts, and the America Saves for Young Workers program.
Download America Saves for Young Workers and C + R Research Services’ new report, Impact of the America Saves program on Low-Income Youth Workers here.
Get the most out of your holiday savings and spending plan with these top tips:
1. Set your spending limit before you start budgeting
And stick to your limit. That might mean making some compromises. Think through what you need to make your holiday happy and successful. You may need to pay for travel to your holiday destination, but maybe you can pack some food from the pantry rather than buying a meal along the way.
2. Reduce your spending
Add up the total of your holiday list, and don’t be shy about reducing it some more. Challenge yourself to spend a little less each year.
3. Plan for as many expenses as possible
Be as comprehensive as you can as you create your budget. Don’t forget things like holiday tips and year-end giving.
4. Remember to save
Continue saving over the holidays so you don’t shortchange your retirement, education, small business, or other goals.
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