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The Most Expensive Time of the Year

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

acik091000008Here we are at the start of the holiday season.  This can be a very joyful time of year.  Time with family, holiday parties, holiday treats and last, but not least, presents!

But this time of year can also be a little stressful. We often over stuff ourselves with holiday treats.  Family will probably drive you crazy at some point.  And we often find ourselves in difficult situations when it comes to money. 

Too often, we show our love through spending money on others.  We want to see our loved ones get the things that they want.  We want to see smiles on their faces.  But are you putting that smile on someone’s face at the expense of your family’s financial stability?

So how do we make it through the holiday season without getting ourselves into (more?) debt.  Here is a basic plan to follow:

1. Determine how much money you intend to spend on gifts for the holidays.  Look at your entire budget and determine what you can afford.  And yes, I said “afford.”  This is not what you would like to spend if you made twice your actual salary.  We have to be realistic here.

2. Determine who you are buying presents for.  Make a comprehensive list.  Do you buy a gift for your child’s teacher? Secret santa for work?  Everyone goes on the list.   

3. Determine how much you intend spend on each person.  Break it down to the penny.

4.  Do some brainstorming.  What can you buy for each person that falls into that price range?  Come up with a couple option so that you have some flexibility.

5.  Don’t deviate from the information on your list.

That means that there shouldn’t be a last minute rush to buy a gift with no regard for its price.  You know what the result will be.  There shouldn’t be any surprises (especially when the credit card bill comes in after the holidays).   You have time to shop around, look at holiday flyers and ultimately prevent overspending.

Are there other ways you control your holiday spending?

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