Kathryn DavisChristmas time is here again, and with that comes the stresses of gift giving.  Getting wrapped up in the season makes it easy to overspend.  I put together Christmas shopping tips to help with shopping on a budget!

1. Set a Spending Limit.

Take a look at your finances and figure out exactly the amount you are going to spend in all.

2. Make a Shopping List.

Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for.  It is okay to trim this list to just immediate family or close friends.

3. Plan Your Spending Around Your List.

After you have your list, go back to your budget and divide your spending across your list. For example, you might spend $100 on your spouse, $50 on each child, etc.

4. Pay in Cash.

It is best not to go into debt over gifts, and paying in cash will make it harder to overspend.  With a credit card, it is easy to forget your budget by spending on extras.  You will be thankful later when you are not staring down a big credit card bill after the New Year!

5. Shop Around.

If you have an idea of what you want to buy, make sure you check prices at different retailers and also check out discount stores. You can find some great deals at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Big Lots.  I used to find that Amazon had the lowest price a lot of the time, but that’s not the case anymore.  Make sure to check out other online retailers before hitting “Buy!”

6. Don’t Go Crazy Buying Your Kids Gifts.

I see this issue a lot throughout the year and even more so during the holidays.  It is okay for your kids not to get everything they want.  What kids really need are love and support; gifts are just extras!  If your children are young, they really do not know or care how many gifts they get or what they are worth.

For older children, it is a good lesson to know that they will not always get everything they want.  If there are complaints from older children, I think that a discussion on budgeting and spending is beneficial to them as they grow into young adults.

7. Take Advantage of Free or Cheap Holiday Festivities.

There are many fun ways to get in the Christmas spirit besides giving gifts.  Most cities have a Christmas parade that is free to attend.  Scope out the best Christmas light displays in your town and spend a little time driving to see them.

Huntsville has a great display in Big Spring Park called Tinsel Trail, where you can walk around and look at trees decorated by different organizations.  If you are religious, many churches have Christmas programs to help you remember the reason for the season.

Let Us Help You Plan for Christmas

Christmas can be a stressful time, especially if money is tight. Having a plan and remembering that physical gifts are not the most important thing can help give you piece of mind.  If your financial situation is causing you too much stress, please contact one of our offices for a free consultation.  We can help set you on the right track going forward.

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