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Controlling Holiday Spending

Here are some tips to help stop overspending during the holidays.

  • Determine a “Want” from a “Need”
  • Do you or the gift recipient really need that?? Seriously??

  • Pick One Person Out of the Family
  • Instead of buying gifts for your entire family, have everyone in the family pick one name out of a hat. And set a dollar limit for the gift.

  • Think Beyond “Usual” Gifts
  • Does your gift recipient really need more stuff? Consider donating to a charity in his or her name instead. If you do have to spend money, do it in a way where you know your money is going to a good cause. You can look up ratings of charities at www.charitynavigator.org/ . Also consider giving acts of service instead of giving tangible gift. This can include running errands for your neighbor, helping a family member with a project – and it will mean much more to your friends and family than a trinket they put on a shelf.

  • Separate Out Your Emotions from the Gift
  • Why are you really buying this expensive gift? Is it because the person really needs or wants it, or is it because you need or want something from giving the gift?

  • Research Before You Purchase
  • www.consumerreports.org is a great way to research an item before you purchase it. Sometimes you may have to spend more for an item – but it will last longer than a cheaper version.

  • Determine the Cost per Use
  • Buying something on sale, but never using it, costs you more money than a more expensive item that you use almost every day.

  • Wait 24 Hours and Review Your Purchase with Someone Else
  • Wait 24 hours before buying a “big ticket” item. (The definition of “big ticket” varies with income and expenses.) Talk over your possible purchase with your spouse/partner, and a friend who isn’t as impulsive.

  • Avoid Extended Warranties
  • You don’t need one. Skip it.

  • Put a Limit on Your Credit Card
  • Put a low limit on your credit card. Also, you may want to consider getting a credit card where you have to pay off the entire balance each month, such as American Express. Find rates and benefits of different credit cards at http://www.bankrate.com/credit-cards.aspx

  • Carry a Limited Amount of Cash
  • Withdraw a set amount of cash for the week. When your cash is gone, stop spending. Period.

    Remember to go easy on yourself during the holiday season. If you do some impulsive spending, okay – but try to take it down a few notches from last year’s spending.

    By |2016-11-20T07:53:48+00:00December 9th, 2009|Categories: Holidays, Money|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Controlling Holiday Spending

    About the Author:

    Dr. Stephanie Sarkis is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and AMHCA Diplomate and Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Counseling based in Tampa Bay, Florida, where she specializes in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Dr. Sarkis conducts evaluations, testing, diagnosis, and counseling services. She also is a public speaker, consultant, coach, and is a facilitator in collaborative law.