The holidays are a great time of year filled with some great pleasures. However you choose to celebrate the holidays, they are often filled with parties and social events. These events give friends and family an opportunity to visit and to reconnect. Although the holidays are a joyous time, they can also be a stressful time. Many traditions involve gift-giving and these expenditures can add up quickly. Fortunately, a few simple steps can ease the financial stress of the holidays and allow you to participate without getting into holiday debt.
Just because you may be seeing a lot of people over the holidays does not mean you need to buy a gift for everyone. Before the holidays begin, sit down and make a list of who you will need to buy for. Rather than feeling obligated to buy for everyone, decide on a few key friends or family that you will want to give a gift to. Only buy for people on the list and keep gifts reasonable to avoid overspending.
Make a Budget
Now that you have decided who you will need to buy for, decide on an amount you want to spend for each gift. A simple rule of thumb is to limit the amount of a gift to a specified dollar amount. So if you have five people to buy for, you could limit the amount to $25 per-person for a total spend of about $125. You can also choose to determine a total amount to spend and buy gifts of varying amounts. The important thing is to figure out what you can afford and avoid spending more than that.
Whatever amount you decide on, take the money from a checking or savings account and use it for only that purpose. Although it can be tempting to charge gifts on a credit card and pay later, avoid this trap at all costs. Use cash or a debit card for all purchases and make sure to get receipts. If you limit spending to money you already have, you will avoid adding to or starting holiday debt.
There is no reason to wait until the last minute to take care of holiday expenses. In fact, getting started early may not only remove a lot of stress from the equation but may also save you money. As the holidays approach, many stores have sales and issue coupons that offer substantial savings. Taking the time to plan ahead can not only save money on the items, but may also make for cheaper shipping.
It can be very easy to get into holiday debt as the euphoria of shopping takes over. The excitement of the season can lead to overspending and rapid debt accumulation. Fortunately, a little planning ahead can make this easily avoidable. The simple steps outlined above may not only help you avoid debt but will allow you to focus your energy on what is most important.
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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.
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