It’s that time of year – lights are out, trees are up and many Americans will be shelling out cash like never before. How much? Last year Americans spent close to $1,000 – just on gifts. That figure doesn’t include décor, food for parties or holiday attire.
Over half of holiday spending will be done using credit cards, leaving 44% of seasonal debt holders “stressed out” later about their spending decisions. Given the holiday debt hangover, cutting back just makes sense.
Determine an amount AND stick with it.
If you’re in the midst of shopping, take a look at your spending history and determine how much you’ve already spent. If you’ve still got some gifts to buy, then determine the remaining maximum amount you can afford to spend and stick with it – no matter what. Your finances need to come before gift giving, and true friends will understand if that means no gift this year.
Skip gifts. Or at least reduce them.
Reducing the number of gifts you buy is the easiest way to save money, time and your sanity during the holidays. Make a list of everyone that you’re planning to buy gifts for, and then try to reduce it. Instead of buying each of your kids’ teachers a gift, could you get them something for Teacher Appreciation Day instead? (That happens on May 8.)
Opt for potluck parties.
Hosting a crowd this year? Instead of providing all the food and drinks, ask guests to contribute a side or an appetizer.
Think heart healthy.
Opt for veggies instead of meat and cheeses, or host a breakfast or brunch party with a juice or coffee bar instead of alcohol - your body and wallet will thank you.
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