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Stick to Your Holiday Gift Budget

Posted November 28, 2013 by Kelley Long in Life After Five
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It’s almost here – the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Right after Black Friday comes December, my favorite month. Despite the cold, snow and lack of sunshine, I love December because that’s when I was born. It’s the only month of the year that I receive presents. I love presents! Add in the fact that I get to shop to my heart’s content without feeling guilty, and I am a merry money maven this time of year. However, my shopping for those on my gift list usually leads to quite the spending spree for myself as well.

As I make my list this year, I am checking it twice to make sure I don’t get carried away with a bunch of stuff I don’t need or want. So as I’ve worked out my holiday gift budget, I’ve discovered a few tips to quell my inner-Santa. See if they work for you too as you hit the stores in search of the perfect gift — for everyone else!

Take a list: Much like going to the grocery store, it is much easier to stay within your budget if you make a list before hitting the mall, as long as you stick to it. Map out your shopping trip ahead of time so that you don’t find yourself accidentally wandering into the handbag department at Nordy’s when you should be shopping for your father. Shopping with a purpose saves time and money.

Take a friend: Join forces with another budget-minded friend and make a pact to keep each other from indulging. When you see your pal heading for the register with a scarf that matches her eyes exactly, gently divert her path and remind her that she should simply add the accessory to her wish list. Make it more fun by promising yourselves a nice meal at the end of the day if you avoid buying for yourself. Suddenly those perfect earrings are easier to resist when you know you will be trading it for a relaxing meal of sushi and wine with your best bud that you can actually afford.

Take to the Interwebs: If you simply cannot resist the pull of vast shoe departments and boutiques, try to do your shopping online. I like to use Ebates.com, which allows you to make money while I’m shopping online. Brilliant! And while you’ll still have to avoid placing items in your virtual shopping cart for yourself, the pull that exists from holding an item in your hands will be removed.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip once or twice and end up with a couple “To: Me, From: Me” gifts under your tree, but with these tips, hopefully you won’t find yourself with the painful post-holiday credit card hangover caused by acting as your own Santa Claus.

About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. She uses her 15 years of experience in various financial services industry jobs to inform her work as a Resident Financial Planner for Financial Finesse, providing unbiased financial guidance through workplace financial wellness programs. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago with her husband and their Himalayan cat Miles, where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.