From the desk of Suzette Hastings, Family Strengthening Counselor

image00The holidays are upon us. The bright lights and warm holiday cheer put us in the spirit. I’ve noticed the increase in toy commercials on television. Every store has had big displays of “stuff” for the holidays since Halloween. It’s so tempting to shop ‘til you drop and just put it on plastic. Just worry about it later. But why start out the New Year in debt?

Most banks have Christmas Clubs. It’s a way to squirrel away money to pay for your holiday shopping. You can set them up months or a year before the holidays placing whatever sum of money you decide into the account. They release the money at the end of October or early November giving you a surplus of dough to spend on your gifts for others.

You can also look into CDs (certificates of deposit) at your bank. Some banks offer risk free options and no minimum amount to deposit. You place a sum of money in an account and it grows interest. If you withdraw before the terms of the CD, there is a penalty. So just keep it in there and watch it grow.

I also use this special little trick. Every night before I go to bed, I check my wallet and look for $1 bills. If I have any, I put them in a jar by my nightstand. You will be pleasantly surprised by the money you will have in a month.

You can also teach this little saving trick to small children. Examine a dollar bill. You will notice that all dollar bills have letters surrounded by a circle. The letters go from A to L. If the child’s name is Alan, put aside all the dollar bills with A on them. If the child’s first name is not A through L, pick the first letter of their middle name or last name. This is a fun way to learn how to save and start a collection! Decorate a container or small box with the child for their treasures.