Commentary

December 14, 2012

Shopping without breaking the bank

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — With the holidays approaching so quickly, it is no surprise to see copious amounts of money being spent to buy gifts for family members, friends and co-workers. Tips from the Airman and Family Readiness Center on budgeting and saving money this season can help bring Airmen and their families from being in the red to back in the green.

Although one’s heart may be big enough to show how much we care by buying gifts, often times our wallet does not reflect the same.

“Depending on the size of the family, people usually spend at least $1,500 or more,” said Quan Franklin, community readiness specialist at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Airmen can quickly fall into credit card traps when shopping for the best deals and steals and often leads to compiled debt from multiple store cards and interest rates.

“Putting your holiday gifts on a credit card is very risky,” said Franklin. “This can lead to actually paying more than what the original price was, especially with the interest rates. Stores in the mall also try to lure people to open new lines of credit with discount percentages off of their purchases. Being aware of these pitfalls can help keep people on track with their finances.”

To avoid spending money that Airmen don’t have, budgeting is a great way to make sure every dollar has a place.

“The keys to good budgeting skills are planning, starting early and sticking to the budget,” Franklin said. “Having a spending plan is beneficial to Airmen because it gives a picture of not only what they have left to spend, but also what is left for saving. To achieve their financial goals, developing a workable and realistic spending plan is a primary step to making sure they are not straining themselves during the holiday season and end up in a financial hole at the beginning of the year.”

Along with budgeting, saving is ultimately the best way to get through the holiday unscathed by last minute shopping, traveling and emergency situations.

“It is a good idea to have money saved for a rainy day,” said Franklin. “Emergencies happen, so to alleviate that stress, having a savings fund of at least $1,000 is important-especially during the holidays because Airmen and their families tend to spend more.”

Personal help with budgeting and saving may be the answer to many Airmen’s financial difficulties. With the assistance of the A&FRC, Airmen can breathe easier this season.

“We offer one-on-one financial appointments to help construct a workable budget along with a savings plan,” Franklin said. “We also are organizing a campaign called “Military Saves” in February of next year to stress the importance of saving to Airmen.”

If you or your family needs financial advice or information, please contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at (702) 652-3327.




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