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Best Tips To Avoid Holiday Spending Mistakes From A Chicago Financial Professional

By Sara Lugardo

Chicago is known for going all out during the holidays, whether it's the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Daley Plaza or the ZooLights celebration at the Lincoln Park Zoo. However, along with the numerous festivals and winter activities in Chicago, there will inevitably be spending adventures for the holidays. Although the holidays are known for generosity towards family and friends, these difficult economic times can call for some extra budgeting this year. Holiday spending mistakes can happen to people of all different incomes but following a few simple tips from a Chicago financial professional can help to avoid spending mistakes and stay on track with your budget.

(credit: CBS)

Ryan C. Linenger
Linenger Wealth Management LLC

Ryan C. Linenger
490 Pennsylvania Ave.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 517-2462

Ryan C. Linenger founded Linenger Wealth Management LLC after working for Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC as a wealth manager. His duties included creating financial plans, developing individual portfolios and a number of managerial responsibilities that helped to set a strategic direction for the firm. Prior to this position, he worked as a financial planner at Plante Moran Financial Advisors. Ryan C. Linenger is a leader as a financial professional working around the Chicago area and he has been quoted and featured in numerous financial media outlets like Crain's Chicago Business, Market Watch and Medill Reports Washington.

What are some suggestions you have for people on a budget during the holidays?
"Unfortunately, most people do not have a budget throughout the year, let alone a budget for the holidays. So, my best advice is to actually do a monthly budget for all expenses and then it will be much easier to figure out what your budget should be for extra holiday spending. If you're not working with a financial advisor that can help you with budgeting and planning for your future, a simple spreadsheet can work well."

What are some common mistakes you've seen people make during holiday spending?
"The most common holiday spending mistake comes from 'emotional spending' or spending from the heart alone, rather than a good combination of heart and head. You'll feel best about the gifts you give when you have a plan for spending before the holidays begin. Work within your budget to find the best gifts possible for the amount you've set. This will help to avoid the post-holiday credit card balance blues."

What are some advantages to utilizing a financial advisor during the holidays?
"A financial advisor that does more than sell investment products and further helps to create a detailed financial plan will bring great peace of mind, especially during the holidays. Detailed financial planning that includes budgeting, goal setting, risk management, retirement planning, college planning, tax planning and estate planning allows you to feel a sense of purpose and confidence in your finances which can help avoid the stress that comes with money decisions during the holiday season."

What are some suggestions for those looking to spend less during the holidays?
"Just do it – spend less! The amount spent is not a reflection of how much you love someone. A thoughtful gift is what really matters.

  1. Set a gift dollar limit and stick to it.
  2. Get creative with sales and coupons.
  3. When you have a large extended family, have the adults and the kids draw names for each other. This allows each person to buy only one gift which saves money and allows for more time to be thoughtful in the gift you give.
  4. Use the holidays as a time to care for those that aren't as fortunate and teach your kids and grandkids this lesson. Tell them that you are holding back on buying certain gifts for them so that they can help you shop for a gift for someone that may not receive any gifts this year and have them participate with you. This teaches generosity, sound fiscal principles and helps to avoid subliminally teaching excessiveness."

Sara Lugardo is a Korean American who thrives in writing about Asian community news in Chicago. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on

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