Don’t let holiday shopping stress you out this year! Be prepared & get organized! with MELANIE R. ROSS, NCA FINANCIAL PLANNERS
Work from a budget
So many of us buy gifts and don’t track what we spend, leaving us in shock when the credit card bills arrive. Before you do any holiday shopping this year, set a budget and decide how you are going to stay within it. Establishing and sticking to a clear plan will provide a solid picture of how and where your money is going to be spent and eliminate any surprises when the post-holiday bills come in. If you have already started your shopping, it is not too late to check the status of your credit cards/spending and set a budget going forward.
Work within limits
Talk with your family and friends and set boundaries for gift giving. Maybe it’s a set dollar amount on gift exchanges, or you only buy for the kids in the family. Perhaps everyone agrees to do a Secret Santa where you draw a name and buy only for that person. This way you are not having to buy a gift for every friend or family member and can focus more on quality of gifting rather than quantity.
Another way to reduce spending is to go in on a larger gift with someone else or a group. If your son wants a mountain bike for Christmas, talk to his aunt, uncle, grandparents, etc. about chipping in on the gift. He will get something he really wants that would otherwise be out of your budget. Bonus: It helps eliminate guess-work for others as to what to gift your son.
Gifts do not always have to be “tangible.” My 86-year-old mother-in-law has enough stuff -- she would rather spend time with family. We may make plans to take her out to dinner, go to the movies or do a family game night. Instead of spending money on someone this season, consider giving your time as an alternative -- after all, the memories made together are PRICELESS.
Melanie Ross is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a Senior Financial Planner at NCA Financial Planners.
DISCLOSURE: Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (RAA), Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through NCA Financial Planners. RAA is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of RAA. RAA does not provide tax or legal advice. Located at 6095 Parkland Blvd., Suite 210, Mayfield Hts., OH 44124. Phone: 440-473-1115 www.ncafinancial.com