Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - Article by: Prospect Financial Group, Inc. -
Christmas again! How it makes the heart flutter. Twinkling lights, glistening white snowscapes, sleigh bells jingling, carolers singing, the innocence of it all. How magical, how mystical, what marvelous memories. So little time and so much to do.
Hold on a minute! What about the hype, the commercialism, the over-indulgence, the cost? You know some kids think they can have everything they put on their Christmas list. Whatever happened to fairy stories and three wishes? Now the list of wishes is endless, and sadly some parents believe they have to live up to those expectations, Santa Claus or no.
As Santa's sack grows heavier year on year, so does the burden of paying for Xmas. No sack of money to weigh us down. Our means of paying for the festivities has shrunk to an ever-tinier piece of plastic. It's deliberate of course. Swiping the plastic or punching in 16 or so digits makes it ever so easy to grossly underestimate the amount we spend over the holiday season.
Then roll on the New Year when we resolve to do it differently... next year.
If this Christmas Story sounds familiar, then you can change the ending to a happier one, this year, not next. Reining in your holiday spending doesn't mean playing Scrooge. It means having a great Christmas, but an affordable one that won't cost you untold misery, worry and stress that has you working even harder next year to pay for something you will have long forgotten.
Follow these Santa-approved top tips:1.Know how much you have available to spend on Christmas 2.Set your budget and stick to it. Work out separate budget for food, drink, gifts, and sundries 3.Write a list of people to buy gifts for - then prioritize (friends and family will understand) 4.Tell the kids they will get some things on their list, not everything (remember if you spend $400 on one son or daughter you feel compelled to spend the same on each of your children) 5. Set your limit for each gift. Bargain hunting is such great fun and you'll be surprised just how creative you can become.6.Pay in cash or debit card whenever possible. Handing over 'real money' makes all the difference 7. Consider giving homemade gifts -- play to your talent, e.g. baking, craft, handyman, artistic, babysitting, seamstress etc. People who cannot do those things really appreciate your time, skills and talent. 8. Plan low-cost 'family together' days or outings -- it's a fact that meaningful memories are made from experiences not merchandise. You may even create a new family Christmas tradition.
With the recent economic recession you are not alone in tightening the Christmas purse strings and home-made, hand-made has made a significant revival. So rein in your Christmas spending, ditch the plastic and find great ways to have Happy Holidays that are both memorable and affordable.
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