Tis the Season for Spending Wisely

The holidays are upon us, and while most of us would love to be as generous as possible during this season of giving, sometimes holiday spending can get out of control. Here are some tips to manage your finances during the holidays.


Robert Semrad Budget ImageSet a budget. Before you hit the mall, take a look at your finances and determine what you can realistically afford to spend on gifts. Consider how much of your money will be spent on necessities like rent, bills and food, and then decide how much of the leftover funds you can reasonably set aside. Don’t push your credit card to the limit if you know you might not be able to keep up with the payments. Your own well being shouldn’t suffer because of the holiday season.


Make a list. Write down the names of the people you plan to buy gifts for this year and consider trimming it down if possible. If the list is too long, suggest a Secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange, which can be fun alternatives to buying gifts for every member of a large group.


Deals and online shopping - Robert SemradLook for deals. Beginning in the weeks before Thanksgiving, pay attention to advertisements to find the best bargains. Many Black Friday sales begin early and extend beyond the day after Thanksgiving, and sales extend up until Christmas day. When shopping online, search for coupon codes and monitor your email for free shipping and other promotions.


Be creative. Giving a great gift doesn’t have to break the bank. A handmade gift, homemade baked goods, a charitable donation, or volunteered time on behalf of another person are all great ways to show you care during the holidays.

Find more tips and practical advice on the Robert Semrad blog.