We're starting to see signs that our economy is turning around, but that doesn't mean the tough times are over.
Many people are still struggling to make ends meet on their day to day finances, but they're also trying to figure out how to save enough money to make the holidays bright. We've teamed up with Budget Wise Consulting's Robin Thompson to give you some suggestions and some answers to your questions.
Read the tips below to learn how to stretch your holiday dollars:
1. Set a total spending limit for your holiday shopping.
2. Make a detailed holiday list. Write down the names of people for whom you want to shop and what you will buy. But don’t forget about other holiday expenses like travel, entertainment, airport parking, decorations, shipping, and baking supplies.
3. Allocate your gift budget. Allocate your gift budget among the people and other items on your holiday list. Set a spending limit for each area of holiday spending. Double check your figures to ensure you don’t exceed the gift budget you have established.
4. Decide to have a cash only holiday. This means you will pay for gifts using cash only. And I mean currency and not credit cards although you may pay off the balance every month. This is a wise thing to do for three reasons: to avoid getting into debt and paying for gifts during the following months; to increase your level of awareness of how much you’re actually spending; and to feel the pain of using cash.
5. Track your spending throughout the season. Keep a running total of the amount you spend on purchases in the “Actual Spending” column of the worksheet. An alternative is to use envelopes to ensure you don’t overspend.
6. Celebrate the holiday AFTER the actual date. The best sales are after Christmas. Exchange gifts on a different day, say New Year’s Day, and let your Christmas celebration be about family, food, and good conversation. The gift of spending time is often more meaningful than receiving things.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E.W. Scripps Company
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