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The Winter holiday season in America has become a monthslong shopping extravaganza. And as the ever-expanding Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales indicate, Americans continue to plan their holidays around their wallets.

While it’s not uncommon for Americans to rack up some amount of debt during the holiday season, they can use these tips to avoid complications because of it.

Set a SMART Budget for Yourself

Avoiding debt requires a plan. A budget is a goal, and many organizations and leaders use the SMART acronym for setting goals. The letters in the acronym stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Here’s how it works with budgeting: Specify the amount of money you have to spend during the holidays and measure your progress by writing down transactions, checking your credit card account and reviewing your bank statements. The achievable and realistic parts of budget goal-setting go hand in hand: Seriously consider how much you can afford to spend and set yourself up for success by adjusting your shopping plans. If you want to stay on budget, you may have to get creative in your gift-giving.

Finally, make sure your budget is timely. You might think adding a little credit card debt will be fine now, but should something happen while you’re trying to pay it off, a little holiday splurge could get out of hand.

Don’t Add Debt Without a Plan in Place

If you have to use a credit card or personal loan to shop for the holidays, have a plan for paying it off. Interest rates can easily multiply what you spend in December and make you pay for years to come. Budget your debt like you would your cash. Only allow yourself to accrue as much debt as you can pay off in a predetermined amount of time. If you take advantage of a zero percent APR offer, make sure you can pay off the debt before the interest kicks in.

Plan Your Gifts in Advance

If you’ve been planning your gift-giving carefully or purchasing gifts throughout the year, you’re ahead of the game. But if not, there’s still time for you to make a plan. Determine your gift recipients and what you would like to get each person. This way, you avoid browsing in the stores, which can lead to temptation and impulse buys that can derail your budget in a single transaction.

Be a Savvy Shopper

Black Friday is over, but many stores have the same deals – or even better ones – throughout the holiday season. Once you’ve created a shopping list, do some research on where to get the best deals. Use apps and websites to get coupons and extra discounts.

Keep Track of All Your Spending

Along with measuring your progress and maintaining your shopping budget, keep track of your typical spending to help prevent overspending in other areas. The holidays are made even more expensive by traveling, going out to eat, seeing shows and attending other events. Make sure to factor these expenses into your budget. If you’re someone who eats out a lot anyway, try to cut back and spend that money on gifts if needed.

Don’t Let It Get Personal

Yes, gifts should be personal, but prices don’t have to be. Try not to worry about whom you spend more on because the meaning behind a gift is not always tied to the amount spent. After all, what good does it do anyone for you to spend $15 on a random trinket for your brother just so you can say you spent as much on him as you did your sister? Surely there can be tiers of price ranges you use. For example, you’ll limit yourself to $20 for a gift for a friend and $50 for a family member, but keep in mind the big picture. As long as you’re staying within your budget, you can allocate money however you need.

Remember What the Holidays Are About

It’s the timeless lesson Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch have been telling us all along: The holidays are not about the things you can buy. It really is a time to spend with your loved ones and celebrate traditions. It’s a played-out cliché, but an important one to remember. Your loved ones would not ask you to put yourself in a financially risky situation to get them expensive gifts. Love is not measured by how much you spend on someone, but rather in other ways you invest in your relationship with them.

SOURCE: https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/7-tips-to-avoid-overspending-on-gifts-this-holiday-season

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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