Financial literacy is a gift that never stops giving back

Guest Column:
Lee Lewis
The holiday shopping season is upon us. And as we rush to complete our gift-buying, it is easy to get carried away in the spirit of the season and overspend. Some simple money-management tips can keep you in the green and out of the red, and reduce the stress that can come with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. More

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OP-ED / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Financial literacy is a gift that never stops giving back

Guest Column:
Lee Lewis
Posted 12/9/13

The holiday shopping season is upon us. And as we rush to complete our gift-buying, it is easy to get carried away in the spirit of the season and overspend. Some simple money-management tips can keep you in the green and out of the red, and reduce the stress that can come with the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

According to a recent survey by Ypulse of teens and millennials ages 14-29, 87 percent said they planned to buy holiday gifts this year, yet only 51 percent of those who planned to buy holiday gifts said they had a budget. It is critical for teens and adults alike to get in the habit of creating and using a budget to avoid accumulating excessive debt or depleting savings due to impulse purchases.

How can holiday shoppers avoid the pitfalls of overspending? Creating a budget and sticking to it is an important first step. Then, during the year before the holiday frenzy starts, plan for holiday shopping by saving up so you can earn interest on your money and help ensure wise use of credit.

The Ypulse survey also found that the majority of teens and millennials (59 percent) plan to do their holiday shopping in-store rather than online (41 percent). The convenience of online shopping is one of its greatest assets, yet it is easy to give in to the temptation of impulse purchases. This can be avoided by having a list of friends and family for whom you are buying a gift, and a selection of items for each one, to help focus your efforts. It is also easy to give into the temptation of “one for you, one for me,” and buy items for yourself as you complete your holiday shopping. You might be able to save money by waiting until the post-holiday sales to reward yourself for being on the “nice” list this year.

These tips can help you have a happy holiday season without the fiscal hangover of overspending. Getting good money-management habits in place when you’re young can help avoid financial pitfalls, so it is important to model responsible personal-finance habits for the young people in your life.

Junior Achievement of Rhode Island currently reaches 10,339 students and offers experiential, age-appropriate, financial-literacy programs at no cost to schools. Interested parties can learn more at jarhodeisland.org. •


Lee Lewis is the president of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island.

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