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Holiday Budgeting: Solved!

I get stressed about buying holiday gifts and foods. What can I do?
Holiday Budgeting: Solved!

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You don't have to spend a lot of money to give a thoughtful gift, but be sure to plan ahead and budget for the holidays. Some financial experts say to stick with 1 to 1.5 percent of your annual income for holiday spending. For example, if your family makes $25,000 per year, 1 percent would be $250 (.01 x 25,000).

After you have decided on your budget, figure out how much to spend on each person. Start shopping early to take advantage of the sales and consider shopping online. Be sure to track what you spend in whatever way works best for you (notepad, computer, etc.). Write down the total you plan to spend per person at the top of the page and subtract as you buy items.

Remember that not all gifts need to be purchased. Maybe one of your friends like to bake, and you like to sew. How about sewing an apron from the fabric you have on hand? You could give a gift of your time with "coupons" for free baby-sitting, snow shoveling, window washing, or cleaning. Offer a free cooking or baking lesson for a family favorite, such as lefse or kuchen. Make a homemade cocoa or tea mix in a jar to enjoy during cold winter months.


Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise December 2014 newsletter (PDF)

Filed under: smart shopping
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