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6 Common Spending Triggers to Watch Out For

Emotional triggers cause you to spend money. Maggie McGrath at Forbes made a list of the most common ones. 

  • Alcohol or hunger can lower inhibitions and cause people to buy and regret it later.
  • Emotional turmoil causes people to spend in an effort to gain control and feel happy. But the short-term gratification won’t last long.
  • Loneliness leads to purchases that temporarily medicate. But a Journal of Consumer Research paper says there’s a “loneliness loop” in which materialism and loneliness create a self-reinforcing cycle.
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Are you guilty of buying things you don’t need? Are your closets full? Maybe you get a rush shopping?

All of us have probably purchased something we didn’t need. But, do you know why? Lauren Greutman, gives reasons in an article she wrote for the Huffington Post. Here are a few she discovered, with my solutions to the problem.

You want to impress people.

Solution: Find your true identity in Christ. Greed and pride can stunt your character and will keep you in bondage.

You’re in the habit.

Solution: In just 21 days you can break the shopping habit and develop a savings habit instead. Only go to the store if necessary and then, with a list. Avoid any impulse purchases. Pray before you go to avoid temptation.

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6 Christmas Budget Busters - The most common traps to overspending at the holidays and tips on how you can avoid them

Christmas shopping can be the most expensive and stressful shopping experience of the entire year year. Many stores count on last minute, frantic shoppers to overspend out of desperation. Crown Financial Ministries has compiled a list of these Christmas Budget Busters for you to lookout for and tips on how to avoid them.

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Thinking about buying a home? You may not want to wait until next year.

You may think December is too busy to consider house hunting, but expert Robyn Woodman at Trulia.com explains that lower buyer competition, motivated sellers, and year-end tax benefits are good reasons to make a purchase now.

If you are in the market, it may be worth taking a vacation day to work with a realtor who probably has more time available for showings. 

Homes are priced to sell in December because there are fewer active buyers. You may get to avoid multiple offers, bidding wars and escalator clauses.

For a home to be on the market in December there may be a need to sell due to a job relocation, financial hardship or personal change of circumstance. It gives you the opportunity to negotiate a price and closing date that works for you.

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I think gift cards are a bad idea for a Christmas present

Here are my top four reasons I don’t think unrequested gift cards are a good idea:  

#1 – Ever wonder why you see racks of gift cards at every grocery store and retail store?  Studies show that between 20 to 25% of those that receive them never use them.  In other words, the stores make a fortune knowing the cards are likely to go unused due to loss or forgetfulness.

#2. They are not the same as cash. If you get a $25 gift card and only spend $23 – you will have a balance of $2 on your card. These small, unused balances are likely to never get used.

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Holiday Havoc: Married to Ebenezer Scrooge, but I still love Christmas!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on December 9.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

My spouse and I are on the opposite sides of Christmas. He’s kind of an Ebenezer Scrooge, doesn’t want to spend any money and thinks most decorating is a waste of time and resources, but I love the excitement of the season, and gift giving is a way I like to show my affection. Every year, we end up having huge disagreements over how to celebrate the holiday. He is a Christian, and so we both share an appreciation of Christmas as a celebration of Jesus’ birth, but we are not on the same page at all on what that looks like … or how much money to spend. Can you help us?

Tired of Christmas Conflict

Dear Tired of Conflict,

If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the first person to ask me that question. Just because you and your husband share an appreciation of Christmas doesn’t mean that you naturally agree on how to mark this occasion (or other celebrations for that matter). My wife, Ann, and I have had to work through our own differences over the years as to how we prefer to mark this joyous occasion.

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Want to celebrate Christmas without blowing your hard-earned savings? Today, some tips for a Christmas without the financial stress.

First of all, protect yourself from advertising overload. Companies know how to play on our emotions to get us to purchase their products. Rather, pray for legacy-building ideas that don’t require money. Intentionally plan a stress-free holiday that allows you to focus on Christ, the best gift of all.

What do you have? Think about it! Time, talent, and training cannot be underestimated!

Give of your possessions. Pass down things that can be treasured by others. Take note of what your children or friends especially like in your home.

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Are you looking for ways to earn a little extra money this month? How about emptying out your storage unit!

Joshua Becker who blogs at Becoming Minimalist says 1 in 10 Americans rent off-site storage. Twenty-five percent of Americans have two-car garages but don’t have room to park a vehicle inside,
while thirty-two percent can only park one.

We have too much stuff and pay to store more. This is a problem!

Natalie Campisi at Go Banking Rates.com compiled some interesting statistics. The average national storage unit costs are:

  • $40-$50 per month for a 5-by-5-foot unit
  • $75-$140 per month for a 10-by-15-foot unit

Those prices increase for climate controlled units and more square feet.

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Be on high alert for scams!

Unfortunately, this wonderful time of year is when scammers attempt to prey on shoppers.

The Better Business Bureau publishes a list of the Top 12 Scams of Christmas. Here are a few to keep in mind.

Fake charities: The holidays create a great opportunity for scammers to solicit donations to fill their own pockets. Beware of solicitations from charities that cannot deliver on their promises or pretend to be representing victims that do not really exist.

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HELP! I’m not Ready for the Holidays!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on November 25th.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

I cannot believe that it’s Thanksgiving week, and Christmas is coming in weeks. Most of the time, I feel more stressed than thankful at this time of year (unless you count how thankful I feel when it’s all over!). Have any advice about making Christmas more about Jesus’ birthday and less about a shop-til-you-drop time of year?!

Tis the Season for Stress

Dear Stressed,

Christmas is my favorite season of the year! It is the largest birthday celebration on Earth and appropriately so! Yet, we have tragically moved from worshiping a child lying in a borrowed manger that first Christmas Day to the modern extravaganza marked by frenzied shopping. Just this week my wife and I noticed a mammoth inflatable of Santa and his twelve reindeer on sale at the home improvement store. For only $299, this “yard decoration” could practically hide your entire house from view. Is there any end to these  needless expenses? I’ll step off my soapbox and get to your question...

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