Just like any budget discussion, the most important step to control your spending is to have a written plan. What can you afford to spend on gifts or activities this season? Make a list; check it twice! Will you need to shrink that list a little? If you do a gift exchange with friends and family, it’s a good idea to set a dollar limit on each gift. Watch for sales and clearances, but don’t be swayed by TV commercials that equate love with how much you spend on someone. Wrapping paper and cards can be expensive. Think about ways to creatively reduce that expense, such as using the comics section of the newspaper, or making your own cards. Save postage by hand delivering to those people you plan to see anyway. If you have a creative streak or culinary talent, try making or baking things. Another way to save is to give your time or talent, such as a day of babysitting or guitar lessons. One way to control spending is to use cash because a credit card has a message on it: SPEND! Don’t let financial worries keep you from enjoying the holidays!
Assistant Director of Financial Aid for Financial Literacy