As the holiday season approaches, we all want to show how much we love our family and friends by impressing them with gifts on the top their wish list. Yet, I urge you to resist the temptation of spending outside your means. The easiest way to spend only what you can afford- make a budget and STICK TO IT!
Before you hit the stores plan out what type of gift you would like to get each person on your list. Then comparison shop online for the cheapest options. There are many small businesses in the Bay Area that have amazing deals on locally made products. To view over 160 local stores click here. The more planning you do BEFORE you set out to shop, the more likely you will follow your budget.
Here are a couple tips from nonprofit financial literacy site, www.feedthepig.org:
- Many stores offer one-day or weekend money-saving sales during the month. Plan to shop your favorite stores on these days.
- Don’t be tempted to overspend on last minute purchases. Planning ahead could prevent night-before emergency shopping trips.
- Exchange favors as gifts or make handmade gifts such as baked goods and ornaments. A great online gift-exchange site is www.elfster.com.
- Send e-cards. Savings could be significant depending on the length of your mailing list.
- Pay with cash whenever possible. Interest charges accrued by not paying off your credit bill in January may offset any savings you received.
Executive Assistant and Financial Literacy Instructor at OneCalifornia Foundation in Oakland, CA.