Have you made your list? Checked it twice?

The naughty practice of allowing Holiday shopping to break your budget

It’s that time of the year, Santa is creating his list and checking it twice to find out who has been naughty or nice. Avoid being on the budget naughty list with my Top 10 Ways to save during the Holidays.

  1. Start early—Obviously, since the holiday season is here, starting early is not possible for this year; however, you can start thinking about your 2019 season now.
  2. Set your budget for holiday shopping. Remember to include non-gift items such as travel, holiday parties, and festive clothes. Plan the budget and open a Christmas Club (a designated savings account) account at your local bank or credit union. The purpose of a Club account isn’t to earn a great deal of interest, but to help you avoid paying interest on credit cards the following year. Divide your total spending budget for the holidays by 12. Deposit that amount into your account each month.
  3. Next year, also take advantage of layaway at many retailers. Just make sure to read the fine print about minimum payments, payment schedules, and pick-up dates.

For this year, you can still avoid those large credit card bills with a little thought and planning.

  1. Set a realistic budget for the 2018 season.
  2. Make a list and stick to it! I follow a four-category gift plan when buying for my grandchildren. Something that they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. With eight grandchildren, gifts can become expensive! Sticking to my list and budget helps prevent credit card shock in January.

I buy each child a hoodie and jeans because we all know that kids grow fast. I also buy them a book that is at their reading level and matches their interests. For the something they want, the older boys have learned the power of gift cards. They ask everyone to get them a gift card to a specific store. For the younger grandkids who still love the thrill of packages, I find a toy or game for them. For the something they need, I ask my children what the kids need.

  1. Leave the credit cards at home. Shop with cash only.
  2. Shop clearance sales—Fall is the perfect time to shop for summer sports equipment, summer clothes.
  3. Be creative—The most memorable gifts are the gifts you have created. One of the most popular gifts in my family is homemade salt scrubs. Small, wide-mouthed glass containers (think olive jars, salsa or cheese dip jars, etc.) make great storage containers.

-Wash jar well in hot soapy water and remove the label.
-Decorate the lid with holiday decorations.
-In a large bowl, mix one-cup coarse sea salt, half-cup mineral oil (baby oil works great), and 5 – 10 drops essential oil.

Another idea is to provide the gift of time. Provide a gift certificate for something you enjoy doing.

-Offer to scan those old photos for the elders in your family.
-Collect the treasured family recipes and create a family recipe book that includes old pictures of the family.
-Give gift certificates for a lunch to a relative or friend who may not be able to get out as easily and would enjoy the company.
-Give 12 days of service (one day per month) to your parents or grandparents where you spend time helping them do a task around the house that they may not be able to do for themselves anymore.

  1. Consider holding your family Celebration the week after Christmas and take advantage of the after-Christmas sales.
  2. Cash in on perks such as credit card cash-back savings or loyalty points with merchants.

Finally, remember the reason for the season. Holidays are not about the gifts. Instead, celebrate the time with your family and friends as you remember your own cultural and/or spiritual reasons for celebrating at this time of the year. Time is the greatest gift you can give. From my family to yours, many wishes for Joy and Peace, and may your New Year be filled with love, health, and happiness.

About the blogger: Tamra S. Davis is an associate professor of business education at Illinois State University. She is active in the National Business Education Association, the International Society for Business Education, and a frequent presenter at multiple conferences including the Business Education Research Conference and the edTPA National Implementation Conference. She has authored multiple journal articles and a textbook Personal Financial Literacy for College Students. To learn more about her, visit tamra-davis.com.

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