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How to Avoid Holiday Overspending

money management

The holidays are upon us and, as usual, many people are trying to keep their spending within a budget. As consumers, we’re surrounded by temptation, especially this time of year. If you want to enjoy the holiday season but you also take pride in good money management, here’s what you need to know.

Set a Specific-Number-of-Gifts Rule

Deciding to only buy a specific number of gifts for each person on your to-buy-for list is a great way to keep spending under control. Some people call this the “4 Gift Rule” but there’s no rule saying it has to be four. The goal is to prevent the feeling that what you’re buying is never enough. If you opt to go the 4-gift route, consider buying for each person on your list:

  • One gift they want or ask for
  • One gift they need
  • One gift to wear
  • One gift to read

Set a Dollar Limit for the Family’s Youngest Members

One of the best ways to save money on gifts is to realize that the younger the gift recipient is the less they’ll know what you spent on the gift. It’s understandable why you’d want to make every Christmas a great one for your kids, but younger children rarely understand what a financial commitment this is.

You could just as easily get them second-hand gifts or something less expensive than the priciest and trendiest expensive toys available. Not to mention you’ll feel better in a few months or a year when they outgrow the gifts you gave them.

Be Like Santa – Make a List and Check It Twice

Or at least stick to that list.

Whether you have dozens of people to shop for or only a few, the worst thing you can do is shop without a plan. This is especially problematic when it comes to online shopping.

If you’ve impulse purchased something based on a social media ad while endlessly scrolling, you aren’t alone.

To avoid the temptation of the onslaught of holiday sales and gift suggestions, create a list and stick to it. Once you’ve purchased the items on the list, consider your shopping finished. And if you do come across a must-buy item for someone, store it away for their birthday or another event. This makes money management easier around the holidays and throughout the year.

Set a Budget

In addition to creating a detailed gift list, set a holiday gift budget. Or create a budget for the entire holiday season. Some families agree on a certain amount to keep everyone’s spending within reason and ensure that nobody feels pressured to go overboard because of other people’s spending choices.

Budgeting for the holidays varies from person to person. Some people like to set a spending maximum for each person on their list. Others like to limit all of their gifts to a certain amount. However, you decide to create a budget, once it’s set make sure you stick to it.

For more tips on holiday budgeting, check out this article from Ramsey.com.

It’s entirely possible to have a wonderful, memorable holiday with your loved ones without going overboard with spending. But it does take effort. For many people, it’s occasions just like this that lead to serious financial problems.

If you’d like to speak to someone about troublesome spending habits or if the money management mistakes of past Christmases have led to financial problems, we can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696.

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