Modern Money: Maintain control of your wallet with these holiday shopping tips
For most, December is gift-giving time, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukah or both. Family and social pressure can turn this joyful season into a pressure cooker of anxiety and stress as you look for “just the right” gift for your Mom, Dad, children, and grandparents.
Let’s face it, the holidays can easily turn to the dark side of holly and jolly. To help you keep your sanity, composure, and wallet under control here are my Top 5 shopping tips.
Set your budget and stick with it. Jot down every person you’re buying for this year and next to their name set the dollar amount you can comfortably spend. Remember it’s not about how much you spend but the thought behind it.
Use the envelope system. Write the name of each recipient and the amount you budgeted for them on an envelope. Put the exact cash amount in each envelope. This is your shopping money I know you might be tempted to spend more but let’s be practical here (yes ,it’s ok to be practical at Christmas) if you have $40 cash you’ll be less likely to pull out that credit card and go a little crazy. Stuck on finding the right gift? Get the sales staff involved. As the experts in their business, they can pull something together for you in your price range.
Leave your credit cards at home, leave temptation behind. I know there’s also the “what if” scenario you can talk yourself into, but what if — stay with me here — this Holiday Season you stuck to your plan and there was no head banging or money pain in the new year? Ahhhh, so worth it.
Re-gifting is allowed if you also repackage and retag. There’s no shame in passing along a present that wasn’t your style as long as you carefully check every nook and cranny to make sure there’s no tell tale signs it’s a re-gift. Also you might want to give it outside the original circle or friends or family gave it to you. By the way, books are more problematic. Nothing says faux pas faster than giving a book that’s has the giver’s name inscribed inside.
Take advantage of shops that offer free gift wrapping. Bags, bows, and tags add to the cost of the present and may put you over budget. Yep, the wrapping is included in the budget. A few of the shops here in Edmonds that offer complimentary wrapping or packaging.
-Arista Wine Cellars
-Interior of Edmonds
Pledge to ring in 2013 financially fit and remember “it’s not the thought that counts, it’s the gift that counts.” Just kidding.
You’ll recognize me shopping around Edmonds with my shiny orange shoulder bag from Blue Fish. Wave or say “Hey” and I’ll wave and “Hey” back.
Denise Marinacci, owner of Flaunt Financial, writes a monthly finance column to My Edmonds News.