Holiday Financial Compromises

The spirit of giving during the holidays can sometimes get out of control and have you giving more than you can afford.  There are some shopping and giving strategies that can maximize your generosity without overdoing it financially.

1 – Make a list of everyone you want to give to, the maximum you’d like to spend on that person, and two or three gift ideas in that price range. 

2 – Look online and in the newspaper for where your target gift items are.  Make a note if it looks like they’re on sale at a particular store.

3 – Don’t go shopping without your list.  Check off each person as you’ve got them covered.

4 – If you have time to make some items, do that.  Lots of people love baked goods and personally made crafts.

5 – Consider some “personal service” gift certificates.  For instance, give someone a gift certificate for a home cooked dinner, being their valet for a week (picking up dry cleaning, shopping, etc.), or fixing some items in their home. 

The people you love and want to give gifts to during the holidays don’t want you putting yourself in financial hard times.  Don’t let yourself slip into that holiday trap. 

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Holiday Financial Lessons for Kids

Too often the holidays are the time of year when any hope of financial discipline flies out the window.  You can change that and actually turn it into a teaching opportunity for you and your kids.  Here are a few tips.

Don’t let the kids expect to get everything they want.  Let them make a list and let them know they may get items on the list, but not everything there. 

When the kids are old enough, you can tell them what the gift budget is for them.  “Old enough” usually means that they know that Mom and Dad – not some mythical being – is the one who actually goes to the store, stands in line, and pulls out the checkbook at the register. 

Don’t forget those who are in need.  Kids of all ages should spend some time shopping for and delivering gifts to charities that distribute holiday gifts.  Your children should pick something they would love to have.  Them talk to them about how much the child who receives the gift will appreciate it.   (You can actually get a receipt from the charity and include it in your tax deductions, so everyone benefits!) 

Keep the holidays in perspective.  It will save you money and teach your kids more than just dollars and sense.