Neighborhoods are lit up, songs about Santa fill your ears, and your checking account is barely over the beating it took feeding the fam at Thanksgiving. While its great to show our loved ones how much they mean to us, out of control spending is not the way to do it. Here are some tips to stay within your budget without coming off as a modern day Scrooge.
- Pay attention. Friends complain to each other. On the phone, over coffee, while running on the treadmill we chat about the day to day challenges in our lives. Listen for the items that would make your loved one’s day a little bit easier. A friend of mine once gave me a meat thermometer as a gift. I was thrilled. I got something I needed and was touched by my friend’s thoughtfulness.
- Save throughout the year. Planning ahead is a budget’s best friend. But its already the holiday season, what now? Well…
- Set realistic expectations. If funds are low this year scale back. Realize that a batch of homemade cookies can mean as much as a store bought gift.
- Resist the urge to buy on credit. There is not going to be a better time to shell out your hard earned cash. Be kind to the future you that does not want to get stuck in a rut paying 20% extra for the things you are buying now.
- Stay on budget shopping for kids. Parents want to make the holidays special. Seeing children smile, hearing their laughter as they open presents under the tree is exciting and fun. Its easy to rationalize overspending as something that’s needed to make a child happy. In reality, children are happiest when you are happy…and its hard to be jolly when debt is looming overhead. Plus, children are always watching and learning from the adults in their life. Setting a good example financially is a gift that will never get old or broken.