NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Tis the Season for Holidays Spending

Tis the Season for Holidays Spending

          With a few simple steps you can avoid the nagging feeling that you've overspent on Christmas or other holiday gifts.  You'll also avoid the struggle to pay off the credit card bills for months to come.  Instead you'll feel in control and free of the dreaded financial "holiday hangover."

           Set spending limits--Look at your monthly budget and figure out how much you can realistically afford to set aside towards holiday gift giving, without going into debt. Your intentions may be good, but the reality is that most people have a depressing amount of debt after the holidays and are not able to pay it off in as timely a manner as they had hoped.

          Make a list--Follow Santa's example. Make a list of all the people you need or want to buy gifts for, including small gifts for babysitters, teachers, newspaper deliverers, etc. These small gifts can add up and are often the cause of going over your gift budget. Include money you'll spend on Christmas cards, postage, holiday parties, decorations, holiday entertainment, etc.

          Decide where to shop--As important as deciding what you're going to buy is deciding where you're going to buy it. If you don't wait until the last minute, you'll have time to comparison shop. Prices can fluctuate significantly from store to store and from one month to another. As Christmas approaches, some items are marked down as much as 40% but selections are often limited. You'll need to decide whether price or selection is more important to you and time your shopping accordingly.

          Pool resources. You may not be able to afford that one special gift yourself. However, if you go in on it with others it may then be affordable. So the answer may not be how many gifts are given and received, but how many people contribute to that one special package.

          Redefine what it means to “give.” Focus on what matters most. As an immediate and extended family, talk about what brings the most joy and meaning.  Chances are, it’s not store bought gifts. Most likely, it’s about spending time together. Agree to spend more time and less money, to play, laugh, sing, bake, decorate, worship, celebrate and even volunteer together. 




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