The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, yet for many it is also a time of stress.
Many of us pinch our pennies in the fall in order to make our holiday purchases. And many pay for their purchases during the new year.
Fortunately, there is a less stressful way to manage holiday spending. Start planning today and don’t wait until the last moment to start shopping.
Here are some tips to manage your holiday budget:
n First, make a spending plan to include meals, decorations and gifts. Determine a realistic price for each of the items.
n Compare prices through the Internet, catalogs and sales flyers. Start looking for gifts early but leave your money at home until you find the best buy. You can then make your purchase after doing your comparison.
n Pay with cash rather than using credit. It’s easier to see how much money you are spending. When using credit cards, it is often easy to forget what has been spent.
n If you have more time than money, give the gift of service. Make a gift certificate for such items as “Dinner 6 times in 2013.”
n Try drawing names or going in with someone else to buy presents for parents or the boss.
n Make gifts for families or friends. Whether it is a loaf of nut bread or a handmade item of clothing, most people really appreciate receiving such gifts. Put the dry ingredients for your favorite brownies in a jar with the recipe, or give the brownies and the recipe. The busy working person or single person would enjoy such a thoughtful gift.
n Make a donation to a charitable organization in a friend’s name or a family’s name.
Taking the time to figure out just what a person might enjoy is what counts, not just the cost of the gift.
MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.