Holiday Shopping and Money
December 9, 2011
By Katie Savant, Government Relations Deputy Director, National Military Family Association
When families think about holiday shopping, a budget may go out the window. Take some time to do a bit of pre-planning before you venture out to the mall, or you may be left with retail regret! Here are some tips to help keep you on track.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Sit down with your family and discuss your holiday festivities and gift giving wishes. Try using a holiday checklist, such as a free online template, to help you track your expenditures.
- Plan for holiday parties. Is there a gift exchange? Will you bring a dish to share? Think ahead of time about costs associated with holiday parties and include these in your budget.
- Watch for hidden costs. Do you need to ship gifts? Are you mailing holiday cards? Will you purchase household decorations or wrapping supplies? Will you make any special meals?
- Little gifts add up. Many people like to remember co-workers, teachers, service personnel, and others during their end-of-year gift giving. Handwritten thank you notes and homemade gifts are appreciated. Don't feel pressured to buy gifts you cannot afford.