Control Your Holiday Giving with 5 Easy Ideas

The holiday season is upon us, and you might find yourself wondering how you’ll be able to budget for all your holiday shopping. This year, try to let go of the obligation or expectation to give, and be realistic about your finances by committing to keeping your giving under budget. Below are five creative ways to help keep your holiday budget on track, and more importantly, avoid going into debt.

1. Shrink Your Gift List

If your shopping list is getting out of control, then it may be time to do some trimming. It’s a great gesture to buy a gift for everyone in your circle of family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues; however, it may not be financially feasible. Instead, mail holiday cards to the people who don’t make the gift list. Personalize them with photos and a quick note. Trimming your holiday shopping list to close family members and friends can help you save a lot of money.

2. Set Limits

Once you have created your holiday shopping list, you can set a budget for each person on your list. Start with your closest family and friends, then consider coworkers and others if your budget allows. But keep in mind that once your budget is set, you have to stick to it and avoid impulse shopping!

3. Base Your Giving on Your Finances, Not the Wants of Others

The state of your current finances should determine your holiday spending. Don’t allow the wants of others on your gift list to dictate your spending. If your teenager desires a brand new Apple iPhone, but your budget has no room for that kind of indulgence, you should not buy it. You should not feel guilty about cutting back on your shopping list and choosing a more practical gift. It’s advisable to have age appropriate conversations with young adults to set expectations and understanding early.

4. Give the Gift of Time or of Play

Some things are more valuable than money, and your time and attention are at the top of that list. Take time this season for a good conversation with a family member or friend. You can take a walk in the park, and let them know how much they matter to you with a heart-to-heart talk. The best gift can be to write a poem for a friend, paint a picture or sing a song. Instead of buying yet another baby gift, give the new mom in your life a free night of babysitting. She will appreciate your time and care far more than any other gift you would have bought. You can really get creative with your gifts when you think of them from this perspective.

5. Share Homemade Gifts With Friends and Family

Homemade gifts are unique, creative, and fun to give. No matter what you like to do, you can turn your passion into some incredible presents the people on your holiday gift list are sure to love. If you’re a great cook, give your loved ones a coupon for a gourmet meal complete with cleanup. If you specify that the coupon is redeemable in the New Year, the groceries won’t make a dent in your holiday budget. If you prefer to bake, buy a slab of European chocolate, smash it into chunks, and bake a basket of the best chocolate chip cookies they’ve ever tasted.

The most important thing to remember is that the holiday season is all about fun and spending time with family, and you do not have to spend a fortune to enjoy all the joys the season has to offer. A bit of creativity and self-discipline can go a long way and help you enjoy a debt-free post-holiday season.

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