The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. For too many of us, it’s also a time of great financial stress. How can you give gifts, balance the need to spend AND not put yourself into a financial bind?
Make a plan.
Because it’s so easy to spend on impulse, set a maximum amount to spend — and then dial that number back a bit. Create a gift list with the dollars to spend on each recipient. If the total is too high, refine the amounts and recalculate. Repeat until you land in your spending comfort zone.
Make gifts by hand.
If you have more time than money this year, handmade gifts are an ideal solution. Indeed, it’s more than ideal – a store-bought gift isn’t always appreciated for very long. A handmade gift frequently is kept and treasured for a lifetime.
Cards are cheaper than gifts. Cheaper still if you create them by hand. And cheaper still if you give them in person to people you see regularly (to skip the cost of postage).
Open a Holiday Helper Account.
Back before everyone had a credit card, people joined Christmas Clubs at credit unions to set aside money each month for 11 months. Then, at Christmas time, they used the money – with interest earned – for holiday spending. You can open a Holiday Helper Account at City CU, for Christmas 2018 or create your own Christmas Club simply by adding another savings account and contributing to it regularly throughout the year.
Keep it simple.
Remember – the first Christmas was quite modest. They didn’t even pay for a room at the inn. There’s nothing wrong with a quiet Christmas at home with your family. Indeed, there’s a great deal about that idea that gets it exactly right.