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Don’t Let the Holidays Break the Bank

The holidays can be an expensive time of year, but it doesn’t have to set you back financially.  Just as planning is key to saving money on groceries, it is also key to saving money when doing holiday shopping.  Some things to consider when creating your budget:  1) how much do you have saved already?  2) How much can you save in the next couple of weeks?  3)  How comfortable are you going into debt?  4)  Can you say “no”?  Some extra things to include in your budget besides gifts may be decorations, cards, postage, and wrapping paper.  Also, any traveling should be factored in, as this can affect the amount you have for gift purchases (McWilliams et al., 2014.).

Have a budgeted amount for gifts, and make a detailed list of who you want to buy for, what you will give them, and where you will go to purchase these gifts.  If too many items are going to make you go over your budget, consider doing a group gift exchange, or making gifts yourself such as decorations or centerpieces.  Shopping online is a great option for many people because it reduces any impulse purchases as well as lunch costs that many shoppers accrue.  At the very least, use online prices to research price points for the items you want to buy before going to the store.

It is better to use cash or a debit card to avoid going into debt.  If using a credit card, come up with a payment plan that will allow you to pay it all off when the bill is due; otherwise, you’re paying more on the gifts thanks to the interest.

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