Don’t get carried away with holiday spirit
Set a gift-giving budget . . . and stick to it!
“A quarter of American families will still be paying for last year’s Christmas gifts when this season’s bills start arriving in January.” That’s a sad statistic from a 2018 survey conducted by a cable news station.
In the holiday frenzy, Christmas shopping isn’t always conducted with clear heads. Good intentions go by the wayside in the rush to get everything done. Credit cards are likely to be stretched to the max when you want to make everyone happy.
Whether gift-givers go online or browse through malls the old-fashioned way, they tend to lose perspective if they don’t have a plan. It’s hard to compare prices when you’re competing with a mob. Online shopping carts fill up fast when you need to rush an internet order to make time to bake cookies or decorate the tree. Stressed out, yet eager to please, most people quickly convince themselves to splurge in the spirit of Christmas, despite the cost.
Approach holiday spending with a plan
Shop early. That’s one way to come to your senses before gift-giving season. You don’t have to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get good deals. September or October work just as well. Some folks start looking for gifts even earlier. By buying just one or two a month, they’re less frazzled in December.
Plan ahead. Put together your Christmas list as early as January. That’ll be easier than you think. You’ll still remember which gifts your family and friends liked best. Grandma, you’ll recall, seemed more excited about the hand-knit scarf she received than the fancy new blender with 12 different speeds she won’t use.
Set a budget. Like everything else in your life, a holiday budget will help keep you in line. Whether you decide to limit individual gifts to $50 each, or set the total at $500 or more, you’ll have guidelines to follow. If you start early and keep an eye out for sales, you’ll have enough time to get more for less.
Agree on limits. If holiday shopping stretches your family funds too far, agree on setting limits for the following year. Token gifts of $20 or less could be better than buying big ticket items in the long run, especially for adults. After all, it’s the thought that counts. If there are lots of people on your list, consider drawing names. When you make such suggestions, you’ll be surprised how relieved some people will be.
Give priceless gifts. Hand-made gifts are often the best. Think knitting, carving, building, crocheting, painting – whatever you do best. If you’re not talented, offer coupons for your services. A promise to help can often count more than the most expensive commercial gifts. Print out I.O.U.s for your help, such as six nights of babysitting, a winter’s worth of snow removal or a summer weekend at your cottage.
Manage Your Money . . . helpful financial facts provided for you by Advancd Asset Management LLC Follow our blog: www.aamllc.com
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