NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Ho, Ho, Ho & Dollars Too

Ho, Ho, Ho  & Dollars Too

It’s the time of year when ads, sales and hints from friends and family all remind us to purchase a gift or two or dozen.  After the first of the year though, the message is “it’s time to pay bills!”

It is possible to manage a holiday budget with coming off like a Grinch?  With a little planning and prep work it can be done.  By sticking to a few spending principles, you can keep your holiday spending to a minimum and avoid paying for holiday gifts until the next holiday season.

Before you go shopping, make your list. Start with the maximum you want to spend -- in total -- this season. Then compile a list of all those you expect to buy gifts for and other stuff you plan to purchase (like food, cards, and decorations), Beginning with the total budget anchors your shopping experience, so you're less likely to look back with major regret.

Imitate Santa and make a list. Santa makes a list and checks it twice, so should you. Even though you might feel compelled to splurge on everyone in your life, you don't have to. People appreciate simple and meaningful over expensive and useless.

Take advantage of the return of layaway. Layaway disappeared for a few years, but a lot of big retailers, like Wal-Mart and K-Mart, are bringing it back for the holiday season. Starting early means you can put a little toward your holiday purchases each week. In the end, all your purchases were made and you'll be free of holiday debt.

Reevaluate holiday décor and food expenditures.   Is one wreath just as spectacular as two or three?   Ask each family member to select one favorite holiday recipe and shop accordingly.  Second hand stores and dollar stores are great resources for inexpensive holiday room brighteners.
Who are you shopping for?  Holiday sales can be a great opportunity to refresh and update your wardrobe but are extra dollars available for those expenditures now?  Waiting til after the New Year might mean a few more sales to take advantage of and maybe even some gift cards that you received as gifts!

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