The holidays are a time full of merry gift-giving and cheer, but once it’s all over and you get that final credit card statement, the wonderment of the holidays is sure to fade into a distant memory. The most important way to avoid over-spending on holiday gifts is to remember to plan ahead.
Consider these holiday spending tips during this year's season of giving:
Beware of buying everything on credit
First and foremost, avoid buying too many gifts on credit. Save bit by bit throughout the year, possibly using a holiday club account, so you can splurge your savings on gifts for the whole family, or travel home for the holidays. By spending money that you actually have, you avoid all the stress that comes with pesky holiday bills stacked with interest, and you won’t be paying off a $100 gift 10 years from now.
Examine the real reason behind your spending
Before you go buying exorbitant gifts, examine the real reason for your giving. Is it merely to outdo another, or to reciprocate a gift that was given in a certain price range? Remember that love has no sticker price, and as cliché as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts. Don’t spend beyond your means out of a false sense of obligation or a desire to impress; it’s simply not worth it.
Create a budget for each child
As a parent, it can be difficult to temper the wants of children. Consider creating a budget for each child, and then discipline yourself to stick to it. Utilize the holiday season to teach your children a lesson about the true meaning behind giving—that the thoughtfulness behind gifts matters more than their material value.
Track your spending
After each holiday season, you should track exactly how much you spent and review your budget for the next holiday. That way, you can prepare more effectively for your gift giving and/or travel arrangements.