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Wrap Up Christmas and Open a New Year - Saturday, December 01, 2012

December marks the end of one year and the opportunity to start fresh with a new plan.  The stores do it, businesses do it and you might be thinking about doing it too.  Even though the first part of the month is filled with activities, shopping, decorating, travel, eating, parties and other seasonal festivities; the days after Christmas donít have to be dull.  Take this opportunity to organize and start your New Year off with a solid plan.

Debrief your Christmas:
The best time to evaluate your holiday events is while the information is fresh.  Make some quick notes for next yearís holidays on what went well and what youíd like to change so that you donít forget details as time passes.   

Checks and Balances:
When balancing your account, review your expenditures and determine your level of satisfaction with purchases.  Did you want to spend less?  Did you stick with your budget?  By figuring up how much the holiday season cost, you now have a full twelve months to slowly rebuild your holiday fund which will reduce financially-related stress from the season in 2013.

Making a game plan!
Focus your efforts and avoid temptation by opening a Christmas Club savings account where money is kept separate from your regular savings and checking accounts.  Members can set up account deposits to automatically fund these accounts, a wonderful plan to set yourself up to win by not being lured into spending money intended for purchases later in the year.

Did you Know?
A Charles Schwab survey reports that parents of 20-somethings recognize that they could perhaps have done more to foster their childrenís independence by teaching them about saving and budgeting and not helping them as much financially. And while 57% of parents see themselves as a "good financial role model to their children,Ē they also admit that their childrenís spending habits donít necessarily reflect this perception.