“From Ramen to Riches” Author Offers Tips to Avoid a Holiday Financial Hangover

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Simple Strategies to Spend Smart and Save Money This Season

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Remember that there are many ways to give, whether it's a store-bought gift, something homemade or the gift of your time. The trick is figuring out how to give in a way that fits within your budget.

Holiday shopping season is officially in full swing. But while shopping and spending can be fun, it’s easy to overindulge. Come January, the bills pile up, sticker shock sets in and before you know it, you’re in the midst of a holiday financial hangover.

“The holidays are about giving and celebrating the people we love, but that can take a toll on your bank account,” said James G. Wood, author of "From Ramen to Riches: Building Wealth in Your 20s". “Remember that there are many ways to give, whether it’s a store-bought gift, something homemade or the gift of your time. The trick is figuring out how to give in a way that fits within your budget.”

Keep holiday spending in check while staying festive with these helpful tips from Wood:

1. Make a list, and check it twice. Write down everyone you have to buy for, from the mailman to your best friend. Then, set a total budget and allocate that money accordingly to the people on your list. Remember – no cheating! If you have to, put the Christmas cash in an envelope and pay for purchases out of that envelope. When the envelope is empty, you’re done.

2. Get crafty. Remember when you used to make gifts as a kid, and how much everyone loved it? Get back to your roots and opt to make instead of buy this year. Ideas: bake your trademark banana bread, create a calendar of photographs you took yourself, or sew, draw or paint a special gift. It will not only save money, but will be especially meaningful for the recipient.

3. Get more for less. Many restaurants offer discounted gift certificates this time of year. (“Buy a $50 gift card for only $35!”) Buy some for gifts and keep a few for yourself to use throughout the year at your favorite establishments.

4. Stock up. Take advantage of great holiday prices and stock up on staples you’ll need during the year. Socks, shoes, underwear and jeans are great examples. Ditto for wine and champagne, which are usually well priced in December for those holiday parties. Just make sure you can pay in full when the bill arrives.

5. Lighten up! Electricity bills often skyrocket during the holiday season. Replace your old-fashioned holiday lights with energy-efficient LED bulbs. They cost a bit more up front, but they last a lot longer and you’ll also see a big drop in your December electric bill. Check with your local utility to see if they offer rebates or exchange programs for your old lights.

6. Give back. Instead of giving gifts this year, get together with family and close friends and donate your time to a local charity. It will be a memorable time for all and you will make a difference in the lives of those who need the help more than you do. You’ll be surprised how much more meaningful this can feel than giving someone another shirt or gift card!

For more smart tips about managing your money, follow "From Ramen to Riches" on Twitter and Facebook.

About From Ramen to Riches
"From Ramen to Riches: Building Wealth in Your 20s," by James G. Wood, aims to help financially clueless 20-somethings get a grip on managing their money. Written from one consumer to another in a breezy, humorous and conversational style, "From Ramen to Riches" describes a common-sense approach to spending, saving and investing your money. Visit fromramentoriches.com.

About the Publisher
The Tannywood Group, Inc. is a San Diego-based educational publisher and leadership development company.

"From Ramen to Riches" is a trademark of The Tannywood Group, Inc.

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Lauren Tanny
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