Save on Holiday Spending? Make That Money Count

December 27, 2013

The Maine Credit Union League worked with a number of media outlets across the State this holiday season to help consumers save money and spend wisely.  The good news for shoppers who manage to spend less this holiday season--even a few hundred dollars can improve your life.
If you find yourself with a little extra money, here are some ways you can make it count:
    •Start an emergency fund. Ideally you want six months of living expenses stashed away to cover unforeseen expenses, but even $500 is a good start. And once you have a good start, it can spur you to keep contributing.
    •Take advantage of compound growth. Before spending that money, consider putting it into your IRA (individual retirement account). Not only will compounding potentially double or triple it over time, but increasing your pre-tax contributions before 2014 can cut your 2013 tax bill.
    •Shore up your investments. The average stock price in 2013 has risen considerably. Now is a good time to take a look at your mix of investments. Talk with your financial adviser about reallocating accounts and where to reinvest your holiday savings.
    •Save for a bigger--ticket expense. Whether it's for a major house renovation or a dream vacation, put the leftover holiday money in a credit union savings account; whenever you have a little extra money over the coming year, set it aside also. You could end up with a gift the whole family will cherish for years to come.
    •Donate to charity. If retailers are having a hard time, it's a good bet charities are, too. If you itemize your tax return, consider helping an organization whose works you admire. Not only can you deduct the gift, but it might ultimately mean more to you than another present under the tree.  To make a tax-deductible donation to the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger, click here.

“Financial responsibility can have lots of benefits including positioning consumers well for the year ahead.  Credit unions are always there to help members with that process,” stated Jon Paradise, AVP of Governmental & Public Affairs for the Maine Credit Union League.