It’s hard to believe the calendar has already flipped over to November, which means the holiday season is quickly approaching! I am already looking forward to turkey dinners, Christmas lights, and holiday desserts. As much as we all enjoy participating in the holiday merriment, it’s important to think about what the holiday shopping will do to your pocketbook. Before the holiday season is in full swing, take some time to make a holiday shopping plan and budget to help relieve some of the stress. Here are some tips to help make the holidays budget-friendly and fun.
- Make a list of everyone you plan to buy for with a list of ideas for what to give each person. Be sure to write down the maximum amount you are willing to spend for each person.
- Don’t forget to budget in the costs for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, food for holiday parties, and extra fuel costs for visiting relatives. Those expenses can really add up during the holidays.
- Make gifts. Do you have a wood working or crochet hobby? Put your skills to work by making holiday gifts. Encourage your children to draw pictures or make an art project to give to grandparents.
- Cut back on the number of gifts you give. Instead of buying a gift for each adult in your family, draw names for one person each. There are some gift exchange games to make this a fun time.
- Offer services. If you know a couple with young children, you might offer a few nights of babysitting. Children can offer to take on extra chores for their parents. Think about what you can do for someone else and give a homemade gift certificate.
- Give useful items that are meaningful. Does your loved one need a new tool for a hobby they enjoy? Do you know someone who loves to send cards and letters? A gift option might be a set of cards or stationary and a roll of stamps. This is a great way to recognize something that is important to your loved one. Note: This doesn’t mean that you should buy your spouse a vacuum cleaner as a hint to clean more.
- Share experiences. Instead of buying more toys for your kids, give them a neat experience they will remember. Plan a trip to see a play at the theater. Take your kids to a new museum. This is a great opportunity to create memories and family time.
Most important, be sure to enjoy time with your family and friends during the holiday season. Don’t let money concerns distract you from the true meaning of the season.