The holiday season is here, and now is the perfect time to get started on your gift planning and shopping. But before you shop in-person or get online with your credit card in hand, it’s essential to set a plan and create a realistic budget. It’s easy to overspend with all
of the excitement, but spending too much now could mean months of bills and high credit card charges in the new year.
Most people want to control their holiday spending, but their good intentions get lost. Below are five creative ways to keep your holiday budget on track.
Base Your Spending on Your Finances, Not the Wants of Others
Always base your holiday spending on the state of your current finances. Never allow the wants and needs of people on your gift list to drive your spending. Doing so is a sure path to financial ruin. Your teenager might want the latest in technology, but your budget might not have room for that kind of indulgence. If you are having a rough year financially, you should not feel guilty about cutting back your gift list and choosing less expensive and more practical presents.
Consider having age-appropriate discussions with people to set expectations and understanding early.
Trim Your Gift-Giving List
If your shopping list is getting too long, it is time to do some trimming. Buying a gift for everyone in your circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is not required. Instead, send holiday cards to the people that don’t
quite make the gift list. Personalize them with photos of your life and quick notes. Restricting your holiday shopping list to close family members and friends can help you save money and enjoy the holiday season.
Set a Per-Person Budget
After you have your giving list, create a budget for every person on your gift list. When you have your gift list under control, you can work on deciding how much to spend.
Be sure to add up your per-person budgets and make sure the total is something you can afford. If so, it is time to start shopping. If not, you may need to do more trimming.
Let Your Creative Side Shine
Homemade gifts are unique, creative, and fun to give, so let your crafty side take over this holiday season. No matter what you like to do, you can turn your passion into some incredible presents the people on your holiday gift list are sure to love. If you love to bake cookies, get some canning jars, and fill them with your favorite ingredients. Top off the jar with a handwritten recipe and give those ready-made cookie kits to the people on your gift list. Cookies are just one example of the many other great ways to give the gift of creativity.
Few places on earth offer the rich history and cultural diversity found in our home state of New Mexico. And there is no doubt our favorite businesses in our communities have been hit hard by this economic and public health crisis – including hotels,
restaurants, retailers, and more. Purchasing gift cards or one-of-a-kind items to send to family and friends not only gives them a taste of the Land of Enchantment, but it also supports our small businesses and our local economy. Start here for a great list of local businesses, Select Employer
Groups, and Co-op Capital small business entrepreneurs we are proud to support.
The holiday season is all about fun and family, and you do not have to spend a fortune to enjoy all the joys the season has to offer. A bit of creativity and self-discipline can go a long way and help you enjoy a debt-free post-holiday season.
Catch up with us after the holidays – it’ll be a great time to talk about your financial plan for now and the years ahead. We can help you come up with ways to set a budget, build your savings, and save money. Make a telephone appointment to visit with us today, use our comprehensive set of financial calculators and our financial library,
get complimentary financial education and counseling with BALANCE Financial
It’s also a perfect time to follow Nusenda on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn; and join our new Financial Health in New Mexico Facebook group for great financial tips and Credit Union updates all year long.
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