Yes, the kids may just have gone back to school and its still hot and humid summer weather, but the busy holiday shopping period will soon be here making it the perfect time to get that Christmas gift-giving budget in order.
Now is the time to take a look at your monthly income and expenses so you can allocate a holiday gift-giving budget. Coming up with a concrete amount of how much you can spend will mean you won’t go into debt by putting all those gifts on a credit card.
“We found that two-thirds of Americans do not have a holiday budget,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst of Bankrate.com, told USA Today. “That can certainly present problems given the fact that the holidays generate lots of one-time big expenses and it happens every year.”
To avoid going into debt this upcoming holiday season, experts recommend doing the following:
Budget – Shopping without a budget is basically financial suicide. Come up with a concrete amount you are willing to spend on gifts – and stick to it!
Make a List – The next step is to make a list of people you want to buy a gift, or gifts for. Don’t forget to add in service providers you like to tip over the holidays.
Who Gets What! – After you have decided on the total amount you can comfortably spend on gifts, go through the list of people you want to buy gifts for an allocate an amount for each person.
Get Gift Ideas – Go through the list of people you want to buy a present for and, if you are unsure of what they would like, simply ask them for ideas. Go through your list and jot down gift ideas for each person.
Start Shopping Now – Don’t wait until the last minute to start holiday shopping. If you have concrete gift ideas in mind, start researching which retailer has the best prices and keep track of any sales.
Rethink Gift Giving – Rethink who you want to spend money on. Not everyone expects a present! When it comes to spending money on the kids don’t go overboard. Take a look at what they already have, what they need and what they have been asking for all year long. If in doubt, follow the old manrta, something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read!