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Dave & Dujanovic: Make the smart money moves on holiday spending

This image released by Profiles in History shows a Santa Claus puppet used in the filming of the 1964 Christmas special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." A bidder paid $368,000 for the Rudolph and Santa Claus figures used in the perennially beloved Christmas special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” (Profiles in History via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — The holidays are in the air and so is money. Are you digging yourself a Yuletide hole with holiday spending? If so, you may need to make some smart money moves. 

Amanda Christensen, associate professor at USU and county director of Utah State University Extension (USU) Service, joins Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss having a merry holiday season by not overspending.

Debbie said she is taking a week off during the holidays to devote time to the online course, “Power Pay Mastery Course,” sponsored by USU and make it her personal improvement project. Find the course here: power pay.org

Control your urge to splurge

“2021 is going to be an amazing year and I wanted to start it off right financially,” she said. 

Debbie said every Christmas she feels pressured to shower everyone she knows with gifts.

“It’s a budget buster because, frankly, I don’t know when to stop,” she said. 

That’s because there’s a rush to it, and we feel good doing it, Dave explained. 

Amanda said she feels the same way, saying, “I will tell you this is a universal feeling, yet it’s unique to each one of us, isn’t it? We are all triggered or affected in different ways.”

“How can we give ourself permission to cut off our spending or tell ourselves when it’s just time to stop spending on others because that is a hard thing to do?” Debbie asked.

Amanda said conquer that temptation to spend more by setting a per person spending limit.

“Once I’ve hit that limit, I can sit back and relax knowing that I got the most bang for my buck,” she said.

Stash your cash

What are some other ways to stay within your holiday spending budget? Debbie asked.

Amanda’s advice: Decide your total amount to spend on the holidays next year and divide that amount by 12 and that will tell you how much to save each month to spend on gifts.

She said to set up your holiday savings account at your bank or credit union and have the money transfers made automatically. 

“So come October next year, if you wanted to get a jump start on some early holiday shopping, you’d have a little stash of cash to do that with,” Amanda said. “Pretty fun.”

Dave said he has a difficult time about being honest about how much Christmas really costs.

Amanda recommended including in the overall holiday budget the expenses for smaller holiday purchases such as gifts for neighbors and co-workers or stocking stuffers, which is where she says she goes overboard with spending.

“Take all of that into consideration,” she said.

“What are some of the first things I’m going to learn about power pay.org?” Debbie asked.

“Finding your financial ‘why’ and creating a financial vision board are things we have people do right away, right at the beginning, because it drives and directs everything thereafter,” Amanda replied.

Your “money personality” is a unique feature taught during the course, which can be used to curb financial weaknesses,” she said.

Dave said his money personality  is “very Oprah.”

“You get a gift and you get a gift,” he said. “Is that an official term?”

“It is now,” Amanda said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

 

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