Holiday Checklist: Are You (Financially) Naughty or Nice?

Holiday Checklist: Are You (Financially) Naughty or Nice?

Remember being a kid around Christmastime?

All you wanted was a quick peek at Santa’s notebook to find out if your name was printed under the “nice” list … or if you’d been designated one of the “naughty” children to receive a lump of coal.

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As it turns out, even grown-ups aren’t exempt from this anxious anticipation. Except now, whether you’re considered nice or naughty has little to do with how often you fought with your siblings or took out the trash. This year, Santa wants to know how well you behaved … financially.

That’s right: The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recently released the “Financially Naughty or Nice Checklist” for consumers to consult and determine whether they truly deserve a Christmas present from Mr. Claus.

You can check out the full list at nfcc.org. Highlights include:

  • I have reviewed current living expenses and debt obligations to determine how much money is available for holiday spending.
  • I will not open new accounts simply to earn a discount, but will first evaluate if that is the proper long-term decision for my situation.
  • I have a gift list and am committed to adhering to it.
  • I am dedicated to paying cash for holiday expenses next year, and am tracking all holiday-related expenses in order to know how much to save toward that goal.

So are Americans on track for a spot on the “nice” list? Well, they certainly haven’t been skimping on seasonal spending. A recent survey found that we plan to shell out about $765 on gifts, more than we’ve spent during any holiday season in the last five years. And we may be paying for many of those purchases with plastic: A separate survey found 80% of Americans plan to charge at least some of their holiday buys.

“Consumers need to remember that Santa only comes around once per year, but the impact of how they managed their credit during the holidays remains with them long after the December festivities have ended,” Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC, said in a press release.

Concerned that your holiday spending spree could land you in big trouble—with Santa and your credit company—come 2015? Check out these pro tips for avoiding the dreaded financial hangover.

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