’Tis the Season…to Control Holiday Spending

Each year, the advertisements seem to start earlier than the last: The holiday season is right around the corner! How can you avoid the pressure to overspend, while retaining the pleasure of gift-giving with family and friends?

The answer lies in planning ahead. Start by making a list of those for whom you want to buy gifts. Include at least one gift idea for each person and a general idea of where to find the gift. Try to avoid making decisions while you’re in the store—impulse purchases often cost more than you planned to spend.

Next, set an overall limit on the number and cost of gifts. Finally, estimate the cost of your proposed purchases and make adjustments until your total expenditures fit your holiday budget.

Shopping Strategies

Prevent overextending yourself with the following tips:

1. Shop early in the season, especially at off-peak hours and during sales. This prevents last-minute panic purchases made in crowded stores.

2. Layaway plans offered by many stores may provide some interest-free “credit” for holiday purchases.

3. Payment by cash or check can help you shop within your means and prevent credit card surprises.

4. A name exchange or grab bag among friends and family members—with an agreement on dollar limits—eliminates the pressure of buying too many gifts.

5. Pooling funds with friends and family members to buy something special for one person can turn an expensive idea into an affordable gift.

6. Discount stores can be a paradise for “stocking stuffers.”

7. Keep an envelope or folder for receipts and sales slips of all purchases and their recipients. This can expedite any necessary returns after the holidays.

8. Be creative in making gifts and cards. Personal, hand-made gifts are often more special than the store-bought variety.

Be organized this year before the holidays arrive. You can discover the satisfaction of getting the most value for your dollar, leaving you free to enjoy a stress-free holiday season.

 

 

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