Financial Fundamentals Blog

Holiday Survival Guide

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and another year has almost come and gone. If you’re like most Americans, the next few weeks will be filled with shopping, attending parties, baking and decorating. What it won’t be filled with is time, or at least it can feel that way. Take charge of your holidays with these tips from KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education).

Get organized and create a budget

Start off on the right foot by taking a minute to organize yourself. Think through and write down everything that you might need to spend money on in the coming weeks. This includes food, gifts, decorations, wrapping paper, travel or anything else that comes with the holidays. Assign a dollar amount to each item. If the overall cost is higher than what you have to spend, look for areas to trim expenses. KOFE makes this easy by offering a planning worksheet in its Holiday Survival Guide with space to enter all expenses and track actual costs.

Stick to the budget

It is sometimes easier said than done, but trust us on this one. Yes, there is much to be said for the joy created by giving the perfect gift. However, if the gift is over your budget by a lot or a little, that joy could be easily overshadowed by the stress of a low account alert or high credit card statement. If you have your shopping and cost list assembled, start comparison shopping as early as possible by reviewing weekly advertisements, perusing online shopping sites (sales are always happening!), and browsing during your weekly errands. When you do begin buying, keep your receipts and track your costs in your planning worksheet. TIP: Try not to spread your spending over too many credit cards. It can cause you to lose track of costs and exceed your budget. If you do use a credit card, try using one that offers rewards, such as the 7 17 Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card with the ScoreCard Rewards program.

Focus on enjoying the experience

It’s a season for celebrating, so find ways to celebrate. Check your local calendar for parades, museum displays or seasonal shows. Create a fun family project, such as cookie decorating, volunteering throughout the season at your favorite charity or performing random acts of kindness. When it comes down to it, do you remember your holidays by the gifts or the experiences?

For a more in-depth look at the Holiday Survival Guide, please visit Once you proceed to the KOFE site, select financial publications from the KOFE table drop-down menu. 7 17 has partnered with KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) to provide free financial education tools to help support members’ long-term financial health. Resources include publications, videos and more! Plus, you have free access to financial coaches, seven days a week!