This is a tough season when money is tight (and always a tough season for resisting impulse buying). One of my favorite legal self-help publishers has an article I’m running in series, on 12/1, 12/8, 12/15 and 1/14..
Tips to keep in mind, thanks to Nolo.
This is Part I:
If you want to save money, this is the time to make your resolutions — not after the New Year.
Cut your gift list. The easiest way to reduce how much you spend during the holidays is to exchange gifts with fewer people. You might even talk to some people in advance and agree that you won’t exchange gifts but will get together to do something you both enjoy — such as taking a stroll downtown to see the holiday lights.
Find alternatives to purchased gifts. Be creative with alternatives to purchased gifts. Homemade treats, a coupon for your services (such as babysitting), pre-addressed and stamped envelopes so an older person can easily keep in touch, a family photo, or a tax-deductible contribution to a charity are all thoughtful gifts.
Make a budget. Once you’ve figured out who you want to buy gifts for, determine your overall budget and decide how much you want — and can afford — to spend on each person. This will help you avoid the temptations of last-minute impulse buying.
Spend within your budget. Stick to your budget. This takes tremendous discipline, and you may want to enlist help. Shopping with someone who can provide the voice of reason is the best way to keep from overspending.
Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Nolo, Copyright 2009, Nolo