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Four easy steps to keep a fat wallet this holiday season

2010 November 29

Now that Thanksgiving has left our tummies full, Christmas season and the holiday shopping that goes with it is officially here to leave our wallets empty.  Hopefully while you all out there shopping local businesses, you are also sticking to your budget.  Here are some steps to keep your wallet in check this holiday season.

Four steps to keep a fat wallet this holiday season:

Step 1: Write down the names of everyone on your list

photo by Susan Averello on Flickr

Before you even start hitting the stores, you need to have a plan.  Be sure to include EVERYONE - spouses, brothers, sisters, kids, in-laws, grandparents, parents, co-workers, caregivers, “adopted” families, etc.  Wrack your brain until you make sure that you’ve gotten everyone down.

Step 2: Determine how much you want to spend on each person.

Go down your list and assign each person a dollar amount.  If you’ve already bought something for someone SUBTRACT it from the amount you plan on spending.  You are trying to create a budget going forward so you know how much you can spend on each person.  Total the list so you know how much you plan to spend on all your holiday shopping.

Step 3: Look at you monthly budget to reallocate money for your holiday gifts.

Now that you have the total amount you intend to spend, you need to figure out where it’s going to come from.  If you’ve been saving up for the past few months for your shopping, then good for you this step will be easy.  If you haven’t, then this is the month you cut out restaurants, slash your grocery bills, eliminate entertainment, and squeeze every available penny so you can spend that money on your gifts and not get into debt.

Step 4: Look at layaway.

Andreas Schaefer from Flickr

Layaway is making a comeback, so if you can’t squeeze enough out of your monthly budget, this is a good option for you.  Sears, TJ Maxx, and Toys R Us are just some of the national chains that offer layaway, but you can still find local stores willing to offer this old-school service such as Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock.

Final Thoughts

Just remember to keep the gift giving all in perspective.  I mean, do you even remember what you got last year?  Stick with your budget so you don’t end up paying for this year’s holiday gifts next year.

How do you budget for holiday shopping?

Do you believe less is more when it comes to holiday gifts?


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