From Ralph Hipp
Ideas for Holiday Spending
One of our church members e-mailed all of us, with some great suggestions for holiday spending, and just in time as our family is getting ready to begin our Christmas shopping. I thought you might appreciate these as well:
- Create a budget before you start spending - The first step in smart holiday spending is to create a budget. List the areas in which you will spend money and assign dollar amounts to each area. Be realistic or you will be tempted to change the budget midway and that will defeat the purpose of your budget. The budget is there to tell you how much you can spend. Keeping to your budget is the smart way to shop.
- Shop with a list Make a list of everything that you intend to buy and stick to your plan. Don't buy anything that is not on your list unless you absolutely must.
- Set expectations Have the "talk" with your family to see if you can exchange names for the adults and place a dollar figure on the amount to be spent on the gift. If the budget will be tight, let everybody know ahead of time and you will all be on the same page.
- Make your own gifts Everybody loves a gift that comes from the heart. If you are handy or artistic, you might consider making your own gifts for family and friends. Gift baskets of home made foods, picture books, crafts and artwork are all great ideas.
- Do your homework Do your homework before you leave the house. Know where the sales are. Many stores price match, so always ask "for your best price" especially on large ticket items. Look for coupons and discounts at every opportunity.
- Shop with a plan Never go shopping without a plan on where you are going to go and what you are going to buy. This will avoid those impulse purchases.
- Track your spending Make a list of everything that you buy and how much it cost. Comparing your spending with your budget can keep you on track and prevent you from spending more than you originally planned.