The holidays are a time full of laughter and joy, but also stressful at times. Stress creeps in due to many reasons, one of them being budgeting your holiday shopping list. When trying to give to all your friends and loved ones, money tends to disappear quickly. Budgeting your holiday shopping can reduce stress and anxiety and make the holidays less stressful.
“It’s time to start thinking about gifts for family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, hairdresser, etc., or maybe you’ve already gotten started with your shopping. Remember that gifts won’t be your only expense this holiday season, and it’s very common for people to splurge much, much more than they expect.
Keep some of these tips in mind to avoid a financial hangover and keep your spending in check: reflect on last year, count the costs, check your list twice, limit your use of plastic, do not procrastinate, time the sales, steer clear of unwarranted warranties, hunt for discounts on the Internet, make your own gifts and keep it simple,” said Isaac Chappell, a regional consumer science and personal financial management agent with Alabama Extension.
These recommendations are extremely easy to incorporate into your planning for holiday shopping. When looking at last year’s budget, determine how much more or less you desire to spend, what are the most important gifts and the cost of those items. Keep in mind that gifts are not the only items that require money to be spent. When making a budget, remember that traveling, decorations, food and other minor holidays items need to be calculated into the budget. Organizing not only a shopping list, but also when and where one is going to shop will help. Pay attention to when sales are occurring and which stores are offering discounts. When deciding which gifts to give, remember that a homemade gift can be just as great as a store bought item, and most likely less expensive. Making a simple, yet thoughtful gift for others, is just as effective. Baked goods or offering personal services are great ideas.
The holidays are about giving and bringing joy into others lives. Avoid adding stress in your own life by properly budgeting your finances. Keep these helpful tips from Extension in mind when determining your financial budget during the holiday shopping season.
For more information, visit www.aces.edu for more articles on budgeting.