The Season is Here Again

We are fast approaching the holiday season (Where did the year go?) and after last year’s holiday spending, you probably have a plan in place for this year. Right??

Some ideas to keep in mind:

What the holidays mean to you.

Is it a time of joy or a time of stress? This is the season of getting together with friends and family. It is a time for sharing, for showing love and appreciation to those around us. If you are worried about your holiday giving, you will not enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family.

Finding the right balance between your money and your holiday spirit.

Buying a gift so that Mary can say she received a gift from you is not a good reason. Buying a gift you cannot pay for is a burden and causes more stress than joy. Have a spending plan. Know how much you can comfortably spend and then stop spending!

Know why you buy gifts.

Is it out of love or obligation? You don’t need to repay George for the gift you received last year. Can you even remember what you received last year? There are some people to whom you always give gifts. You have been doing that for years. But do your gifts have to be purchased? Find some clever ways to share with your loved ones. When I first moved to the West Coast, I met a family who “adopted” me and invited me to various family events. When the holidays came around, I had very little money, so I baked pies and gave them as gifts. These pies were welcomed and enjoyed – and my holiday spending budget stayed intact. What can you give that does not break your bank?

Make a list – and check it twice.

Over the years families get bigger and bigger – added children, in-laws, cousins, etc. So gifting family can become quite costly. Some families have gone to drawing names for any members over 16 and limiting the amount to $20, or $25, or whatever the family decides. They limit the amount of gifts to 2 for family members 16 and under. It helps keeping the fun and love in the season and reducing the stress and frustration.

This is the season of love and caring. You don’t want to still be mad at yourself in July when you look at your credit card bill and see you are still paying for last year’s holiday gifts. Give yourself the gift of financial peace.

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