Planning for the Holidays
With the Minnesota State Fair in the rear-view mirror and school back in full-swing, it is time to fully embrace the autumn season and start thinking about holiday shopping!
Wait – what?
It may seem early, but now is a great time to think about how much you want to spend on gifts, decorations, donations, and/or parties in the upcoming months. Don’t forget about food and travel expenses, too! Start the season off right with a clear budget of your holiday expenses and how much you can spend. Set a spending target early and stick with it!
If you’re able, talk with the family and friends you celebrate with about holiday spending. Ask yourselves: what can we all do to keep costs down for everyone?
- Agree upon a budget that everyone is asked to stay within. Talk about limiting the number and/or cost of gifts. Coordinate with guests about food and decorations to share or split costs whenever possible.
- Get creative with party planning! Incorporate fun games using items you already have throughout the house. Have a “white elephant” gift exchange where gifts are either within a certain price point or are items found throughout the house (no purchase necessary)!
- Plan ahead. Determine as soon as possible your travel plans to take advantage of cheaper pricing early. Purchase items already on your list when they are on sale.
Of course, we know money conversations are difficult and often uncomfortable. While we encourage you to try, we also know it may not be an option in your family. Do what feels best for your needs.
Once the shopping starts, shop using cash as much as you can. Since you can’t spend what you don’t have, you won’t bust your budget! Regardless of payment method, track all expenses. This helps you remain aware of where your money is going, stay within your budget, and plan for next year’s expenses.
But first, relax. Enjoy the remaining days of summer and autumn! And rather than get anxious or angry when you see those winter-themed displays in stores (seriously, it’s 90 degrees outside?!), take a moment to plan ahead so you can enjoy the season as stress-free as possible!
Money Management E-Newsletter: September 2017