It’s almost Thanksgiving, and that means Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming. Don’t let the fun and excitement of holiday shopping turn into a credit-debt nightmare in the new year. Here are tips to help you make the most of the holiday season without breaking the bank.
Set a Budget And Stick To It
There’s so much fun (and a little anxiety) that comes with Christmas shopping – finding something perfect for the people you love, snatching up deals before they’re gone, and buying the “it” gift that will make you a hero to your kids. It is easy to lose sight of your budget, if you set one at all.
Before you even look at those Black Friday deals, create a realistic budget. List out all the people you plan to buy for, estimate what you will spend on each, and crunch the numbers. This will allow you to set your gift-giving strategy before you spend any money, making your budget easier to stick to.
If you plan to use a credit card when holiday shopping, be sure you’re using one with a low-interest rate unless you will be able to pay it off right away. Don’t end up paying more for a gift than it’s worth because of reckless credit card spending.
Make Spending Limits (Fun)
Before you hit the stores on Black Friday, talk with your family and friends to discuss spending limits, so that everyone can avoid overspending. Setting a spending limit often results in very thoughtful (and sometimes comical) gifts. It’s easy to find a great gift if you can spend all the money you want, but a spending limit makes things much more interesting. Spending limits also remove the pressure and financial anxiety from the whole holiday experience.
Be Creative With Your Gifts
A gift isn’t always something you buy at a store or online. It may not even fit under the tree. Consider unique ways to show your love for the people on your list.
Create a keepsake. Plan an experience you and your family can enjoy together. Write an original list of chores you’re willing to do for a loved one or activities you’ll try with them and create “coupons” as gifts. Often the best presents do not cost money – they require careful thought and effort.
Donating to a charity in a loved one’s name is another way to be creative with gifts. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is now known as Giving Tuesday – it’s a day of global giving that kicks off the charitable season. A charitable donation is an impactful gift that goes beyond Christmas Day, and yes, it’s tax deductible.
Just remember, a gift that has deep personal meaning can’t be found on sale anywhere.
Focus On What Matters Most
Shopping, especially during a sale, can create a sort of “high” caused by dopamine and adrenaline. Stores know this and use it to keep you spending. Don’t lose sight of what matters most during the holidays. This is a time to come together with the people who matter most to you and celebrate. You will enjoy all the festivities more if you avoid the financial pitfalls that holiday shopping brings. Joy to the world, and joy to your wallet.
About Mason & Associates, Inc.
Mason & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1989, specializing in Life Planning for individuals, families and small businesses. Life Planning places a person’s core life values at the heart of the advice process and focuses on the human aspects of financial planning.
As a client, your personal story is key to our planning process. That is why we strive to build a close relationship that will encompass every aspect of your life. Together with our team of professionals, we guide you through the process of identifying what is important to you, your goals, your dreams. We then put into place a financial road map to set you on your way towards achieving your objectives.
Our responsibility does not end there. As you encounter bumps in the road, changes in goals or any other roadblocks, we are there to offer advice and guidance. We are there to celebrate your successes and cope with your challenges. We work alongside your other professionals such as your attorney and your CPA to be sure all of your legal and financial needs are aligned.