NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Enjoy the Season

Enjoy the Season

            They’re starting to fill the store aisles and shelves and the catalogs are arriving daily – signs of the approaching holiday – and buying – season can already be found.  With tight budgets more common this holiday season than in years past due to the recent recession, this holiday season is dreaded by many.

            There are ways to enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank or your budget. To reduce the anxiety of spending and planning this season, try:

Set a spending limit - Determine the amount you can afford to spend during the holidays and stick to it. Include not only gift purchases but also holiday parties, food at home and away from home, movies, other recreational activities and travel. Set a limit on the number of gifts for each child or set a dollar amount to spend on each child.

Make a gift list – Does your list include everyone you want to remember without going overboard for your budget? .  Homemade gifts such as baked goods or special cards are always appropriate and appreciated. . Drawing names and group gifts for special family members are often less costly ways of giving.

Buy with cash or check only - Research shows that consumers spend less when paying with cash or check rather than credit cards. Charging holiday purchases on high interest credit cards results in repaying the amount borrowed for several months or even years.

Start new traditions that are free or inexpensive - Replace the emphasis on gift giving with other enjoyable activities.  Look for free or low cost community activities or volunteer as a group for a local charity in place of exchanging gifts.

Be thoughtful in your gift giving - Ask yourself why you are purchasing the gift. Some reasons may be to convey that this person is important to you or that this person has had a positive influence on your life, or you may want to give to someone who is truly in need.  Think of gifts that include giving of your time and talents.

Add items needed for home-cooked dishes to your weekly grocery list now - Plan for holiday meals now. Select items that may not be drastically reduced in price during the holiday season.

Avoid impulse buying - Shop early to allow time to comparison shop. Many consumers rush to the stores the day after Thanksgiving to take advantage of time-limited sales. These sales encourage consumers to make impulse buys because of the limited time to make a decision. Plan ahead and decide on the items you can afford to buy before the sales begin. Do not spend money you need for necessities on sale items just because they are on sale.

Keep a positive attitude Do not allow a tight budget or the lack of material gifts sabotage your enjoyment of the holiday season.   Often the most important things in life are not things

 

 

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