5 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself
Although a majority of consumers say they plan to spend less on gifts this year, an increasing number of Americans plan to buy something for themselves while doing their holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. About 57% of consumers (up from 52% in 2009) will spend more than $100, on average, to splurge on themselves.
Before you pull out the credit or debit card, think of all the other ways you can put that money to use to improve your financial situation. Here are five ideas.
1. Pay down debt. Whether you've racked up holiday debt or have a balance lingering on your credit card, $100 could help make a dent. Use our tool to find out what it would take to pay off your credit-card balance.
2. Boost your emergency fund. You should have enough cash to cover several month's worth of expenditures in case you lose your job or disaster strikes. See How Much Cash You Really Need.
3. Contribute to your retirement account. Your account balance likely has recovered from the bear market, but help it even more with an additional contribution this year. See how much your account would grow with our tool.
4. Write a will. If your finances and circumstances are uncomplicated, an online will makes sense and is an affordable way to specify how you want your assets distributed and who will be the guardian for your children. Nolo's Online Will starts at $59.95. See Cut the Lawyer Out of Your Will for more information.
5. Donate to charity. If you itemize, you can get a tax break for helping others in need. You can get a deduction for donating cash to qualifying charities (just be sure to get a receipt. Learn more about the rules for deducting contributions and use our checklist for vetting charities.