Financial responsibility on Halloween seems slightly counter-intuitive, seeing as how Halloween is about taking a night off from responsibility, eating and drinking foods that are terrible for you while spending money on decorations you bring out of the attic only once per year. If you are a numbers person, TheBalance put together a highly visually appealing graph of Halloween spending.
There is a happy medium here (not speaking of the mediums that speak to the dead). You can still celebrate the holiday with family and friends, without breaking the bank, and while paying close attention to finances, even if you have to sneak off to your office like a fiscal ghoul.
Buying Costumes While in Debt
Costumes are generally the biggest funds-sucker during Halloween party planning. You will wear it likely only once, because who wears the same costume every year (Elsa costumes are still cool though right?). If you have a family of five, you might be on the hook for three or four costumes at $50 per pop. That’s potentially up to $200 just for one night of wardrobe!
DaveRamsey.com provides an excellent alternative: “Here’s how it works: Head to the consignment shop or thrift store with your brood and give each child an envelope with five or 10 bucks inside. Split into teams to pick out a costume or find materials to make a custom creation. When time’s up and purchases are made, head home and have the kids dig into their closets for the rest of their getups. There’s nothing like a happy homemade Halloween!”
Forget Your Student Loan Debt for Halloween Night, Then Do These Helpful Steps
Fresh out of college with a small but growing family? You aren’t alone. We’ve covered just how significant student loan debt is for millennials and those within five years of graduating college with student loans.
Forbes also has some sage advice for those trying to boogie on Halloween while student loans are part of their finances: “If your child is still young and you can afford to save for their education, start putting money away in a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account, both of which grow tax-free for education. If your child is approaching college age, check out these tips on maximizing financial aid eligibility and seek out ways to cut costs like choosing a less expensive school or starting at a community college for the first couple of years. If you or your child is already struggling with student loan payments, consider reducing the payments with an income-based or extended repayment plan.”
Avoid Losing Time on Retirement Savings
The expression “time is money” is better expressed in a debt scenario as “Spending now is prolonging retirement later.” The concept is simple: Spending money on non-necessities now and not putting it toward debt, even though you are covering bills, is prolonging your ability to retire and explore while still of an age to be mobile. This concept is further explained in this excellent piece from Charles Schwab:
“…don’t waste a minute in starting to save for retirement. The earlier you begin, the lower the percentage of your income you’ll have to set aside each year. Contribute at least enough to your company retirement plan to get the largest possible match. (That’s free money!) Try to target saving at least 15 percent of your gross salary between you and your employer toward retirement (the maximum for a 401(k) in 2017 is $18,000 or $24,000 if you’re 50 or older; these amounts will go up to $18,500 and $24,500 in 2018).”
Don’t Go It Alone
Outside the box on this one, but one of the most crippling elements of debt is the share of revealing your financial struggles to friends, family, or experts that might be able to help. In addition to our advice on how to get organized, Golden Financial Services provides several tools for mapping your financial landscape. Tools like a budget calculator to help you establish what kind of extra cash you might have available for Halloween celebrations, while our Snowball Calculator details how to make payments toward freeing up cash flow while increasing your credit score.
If you found our blog looking for financial advice or assistance with credit card debt relief or debt consolidation, call Golden Financial Services today at (866)-376-9846 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out the rest of our blog here, and do your research on our services here. Let’s talk soon!