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Holidays and Your Money: 15 days until Christmas

So we are in the final stretch before the biggest holiday of the year...only 15 more days to go. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love the music, people's spirits, giving gifts, and let's not forget the reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ. This is my favorite time of year for all of these reasons and more.

My official holiday shopping kick-off began on Black Friday while shopping with my husband and in-laws, a tradition that began for me in 2006. And since then the deals have been abundant with Cyber Monday shopping, free shipping offers, and each retailer trying to undercut the other while slashing prices day after day and week after week. How do we keep up with it all?

One of my main suggestions for holiday shopping is to keep your boundaries. At this point in the season, some of you may have already started shopping while many of you may not, but it is unlikely that most of you have completed your shopping. And with only 15 days left, let us consider the careful steps that should be taken so that we do not blow our budgets and spend too much money trying to make our loved ones happy.

  • If you have not already done so, make a list of gifts with price ranges and stick to it! This may be difficult since you may not know exactly what to get or what items are left on the shelves, but this is imperative so that you remain within your budget.
  • Use cash or debit for purchases. You do not want to be stuck with a huge credit card bill in January that you spend half of 2010 paying off; only to do the same thing again next year. Even though you may not have spent all year saving for holiday purchases, be sure to live within your means even when buying gifts for others.
  • Be creative when planning your gifts. If your budget does not seem to allow for the type of gifts you want to get, or funds are tight due to the short amount of time remaining until Christmas, then get creative! Utilize your internal gifts to maximize your gift giving. If you are a baker, make cookies or cakes for friends and relatives. If you are into arts & crafts, consider making gifts instead of purchasing them. There are several options available to you that do not require spending money you may not have.

These are some tips I can offer as we move into the final days before Christmas. As the time draws closer, I hope to provide additional insight to ease the stress of holiday shopping. Cheers

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