Sunday, November 22, 2009


Ready or not, it's here

Posted by Jill Boynton November 20, 2009 11:11 AM
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the Christmas season is in full force as evidenced by the commercials, ads and catalogs I’ve seen in the past two weeks. Retailers are hoping that consumers will not scrimp on holiday giving, as this time of year often determines a company’s profit, especially small companies. Many families are on tight budgets or feeling financial constraints, but no one wants to disappoint their family at Christmas. If you’re on a budget this year, here are some tips for keeping the holiday giving in check:

1.Determine an overall budget for the holidays. Make a list of everyone you will be buying gifts for as well as expenses associated with parties, meals, etc. Set a limit on what you’ll spend on gifts. If the total cost is too much for your paycheck, adjust the budget until you’re able to pay for everything from your current income, instead of putting purchases on a credit card and worrying about the bill next year.

2.Consider group gifts. This works really well in large families. I have 6 nieces and nephews on one side of my family. My siblings and I decided years ago to assign one sibling to each niece/nephew. We purchase one gift on behalf of all the aunts and uncles at a reasonable cost, such as $50 or $75. That is less than the cost of 6 gifts, and the child gets one nice gift instead of 6 small ones.

3.Set expectations with your children. Let them know the gifts will be smaller, or less in number than previous years. Talk about things you can do together to celebrate the holidays that doesn’t involve buying “stuff.” You might be surprised at what your children come up with.

4.Pay with cash or a debit card. Leave the credit cards at home.
Let’s here from you – what ideas have you come up with to reduce the budget, but increase the fun for the holiday season?

Even with finances tight, I hope everyone will find one extra dollar here or there to stuff into the Salvation Army kettle, or buy a toy for Toys For Tots. We all need to remember to be thankful for what we have.
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