The 2016 Holiday season is near. That time when marketers assault your financial discipline with the emotional equivalent of an Armored Military Division. Prepare now to protect both yourself and those you love with these helpful holiday spending tips for surviving the threat to your financial well-being.

Knowing the risk is the first step

The holidays are set apart from the norm with the music, decorations, smells and “holiday savings”. Ruth Hayden, a financial educator writes, “It is a seduction. Consumers are seduced into buying. To be seduced means that you are crossing boundaries that you have set.”

Financial seduction can lead to dangerous behavior. “Unfortunately, too many consumers are paying for [holiday expenses] beyond six months, a year, two years and even longer,” says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. (CCCS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Most of us can’t remember the gifts we received last year, let alone as a child,” says Dvorkin. “It is the family tradition and memories that really stand out.”

If that last bit is true, why put your personal financial stability at risk? Is the economy’s need for wealth greater than your own?

Follow these suggestions

The best tip for success is to develop a plan. Because we’re human, plans are neither perfect nor incontrovertible. But the planning process creates a focus and a resolve to see beyond distractions to the goal. In this case, the goal is to protect personal financial stability.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower, General of the Army, 34th President of the United States

Here are nine tips for protecting your financial well-being during the holidays:

  1. Create a spending plan that lists how much you can afford to spend including travel, entertainment, decorations, meals as well as gifts.
  2. Make a list of people who are on the gift list.
  3. Keep track of what you spend and watch that number carefully, at least weekly.
  4. Shop with a list.
  5. Shop early.
  6. Avoid impulse purchases. Don’t buy it; make a note of the item and comparison shop or see where it fits in your spending plan (or budget).
  7. Leave your credit cards at home. Try it. Guaranteed to make you feel better when you get back. 😉
  8. Use cash to purchase items.
  9. Check the fine print on gift cards. Some of them have inactivity fees and expiration dates.

Peoples Bank wants you to spend wisely. Talk to a personal banker for information suited to your circumstances, or read our Spending Tips blog posts. Get more details and guidelines for responsible holiday spending online. Read Plan your spending to avoid holiday debt by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Dan Rutherford, Senior Content Specialist in the Office of Financial Education. See also Tips for Stretching Your Holiday Budget by Dani M. Arthur of Bankrate.com.