With the holidays upon us, it can sometimes be tough to remember that this is supposed to be a joyful season. Celebrations can quickly dissolve into chaos, stress, and opportunities to overspend. Here are some tips to help remember the joy of the holidays and avoid overspending.
Money Smart Holiday Tips:
Avoid impulse buying. Start with a list and use the internet for comparison shopping and buying. This will help with making smarter purchases and will lead to fewer trips to the malls and stores where impulse shopping is hardest to avoid. So make a list, stick to it, and minimize those shopping trips.
Buy less and do more. Items we buy quickly lose their appeal and the pleasure we get from them is fleeting. The pleasures of the things we do, however, go on warming our hearts long after the occasion has past. So buy fewer things this holiday season. Instead, invite people over for supper, go ice skating with your kids, or go to a special event with your friends. You’re not only likely to save some money; you’ll probably have a much merrier and more memorable holiday season as well.
Presents are for children. Consider not buying holiday presents for most adults. Talk to the people you’re exchanging gifts with and see if they might prefer to stop as well. Most adults will be happy to end the obligation or agree to a gift limit of $10 or so. After all, what percent of the gifts you’ve ever gotten have you actually wanted and used?
Think before sending Christmas cards. Only send cards with a personal message to each person. While most people just fire them out, it’s not very personal, is it? Simplify life and save money by sending an e-card for free instead (do it for birthdays, too).
Start your own holiday fund. Save ahead of time. It’s important to save for gifts, and especially the holidays, so there is money to cover the expenses when the time comes. Consider the gifts and expenses for each present-giving event in a year, add them up, and divide by twelve to know the monthly cost. This is the amount to put aside each month to be prepared and avoid stress.
The holidays are a supposed to be a celebration with family and friends; going into debt doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Be Money Smart and don’t stress, enjoy the season without regret.