Does this time of the year make you feel warm and fuzzy or anxious and stressed?
The concept of holiday giving and receiving, whether gifts or helping someone out, seems simple enough, yet after many discussions with clients and friends, I continually see that both areas are very loaded issues. Consider the following ideas as you go through the holidays right now and for next year.
Holiday Budgets and Giving
Giving and receiving is definitely about more than the material gifts, especially when you add money, emotions and past history to the mix.
For those of you who tend to slide in at the end and are just getting started with the holiday shopping for gifts, let’s start with the “Giving” side. From a pragmatic budgeting perspective, I will always recommend the standard tips you’ve read before:
- Make your list of everyone on your gift list. (Don’t forget your favorite hairdresser, mechanic, vet, mail carrier, teachers, boss, secretary, pets and all the others).
- For a great template, check out “Google’s Gift Shopping List”. Or review the Gift Giving Worksheet in The Budget Kit Workbook. You DO have the workbook, right?
- Decide on some dollar limit and add this next to the person’s name. (Be thinking of a few different gift ideas as you create this list).
- Beware of the “creep” – continuing to buy more gifts even after you reached your limit.
- Remember all the other added holiday expenses and write these down. (You know… decorations, trees, wreaths, postage and shipping, wrapping paper, cards, crafts, plants, beverages, parties, donations, workplace events, clothes, trips, boarding the pets, entertainment, batteries, etc.)
Note: After decades of counseling people, I continue to see this holiday expense category as the most overlooked area of budgeting. In fact these expenses usually add at least an additional $400-$600 to the holiday budget.
Back to the Money Part