The holiday shopping season is underway! Stores are packed with bargains and people while the Internet tempts and tantalizes with deep-discounted items which can be purchased with a few clicks of the mouse. Or, if shopping on a tablet or smartphone, a swipe of the finger. It’s a time where presents under the tree swell while your wallet or purse gets ever emptier. Throw in a young family, and you can feel the financial floor slipping out from under you.
As we’ve said before when it comes to financial issues, don’t panic. You can easily find yourself in a downward spiral come the holidays as everyone seems to want a piece of your paycheck. You can also feel this after the holidays when the first credit card bills come in, shipped special delivery due to their weight. It can be overwhelming and start you down a path of financial irresponsibility. This is not the way to go.
You need to keep calm, no matter what the situation. You’re not going to lose your house or car to holiday shopping. Unless, that is, you give your house or car away as a gift. Follow a few of these techniques to keep your sanity during this hectic season.
Lists. Lists. Lists.
We’ve mentioned this before — sit down with the members of your young family and ask them what they want for Christmas or Hanukkah. We’re not asking for a twenty page manifesto here, just five or six of the most important items they want. Out of those, ask them what would be their top two. Those are the ones you need to have under the tree, unless they’re over-the-top-expensive. The rest can be items you know they would cherish, even thought they might not be on their list. Also, make sure you prep lists for everyone you want to send Christmas gifts or cards to. This site has some great Christmas cards that you can customize with family photos to make them even more personal. Some folks may only require a homemade good.
No Credit. No Credit. No Credit.
The rest of this entry should be those two words repeated. You want to avoid the downward financial spiral? DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS! And don’t open a credit account at any store. Retail cards are notorious for their extremely high interest rates. Hid them somewhere you feel they’d be a pain to retrieve.
Bargains. Bargains. Bargains.
Your Sunday paper is thicker than normal due to the amount of retail circulars promoting the latest and greatest holiday deals at their stores. Don’t throw these in the recycle bin. Peruse these color inserts, because you may find something on your family’s list at a discount. The other place to look for heavily discounted items — the Internet. Some sites offer even deeper reductions in cost, including those of brick-and-motor stores. Just make sure the site is reputable and secure before making your purchase.