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Avoid Holiday Overspending

Avoid holiday overspending and enjoy the season instead. So many of us worry about finances year ‘round. When the pressure to buy holiday gifts is added to the mix, you may find yourself having a money melt down. It is a little late to “plan ahead” for this year, so here are a few handy tips to help you through this holiday season, without breaking the bank or burying yourself in additional debt.

  1. Be honest with yourself and others. Chances are you could easily trim names from your gift list, without alienating anyone. Speak up and let your friends and relatives know that you are planning to cut back this year and that instead of exchanging gifts, you would prefer to exchange favorite recipes, or perhaps get together for a potluck and do a gift swap. A gift swap can be a lot of fun, each person need only buy one item, and everyone leaves with something.
  2. For those you feel you must buy for, make a budget and stick to it. Check the sales flyers. Always compare prices. Many stores will match competitors’ prices. If shopping online, do a separate search for coupons. Don’t go on a credit card charging spree that will haunt you, like the ghost of Christmas future, for all of next year.
  3. If time and your talents allow, make a gift. Sewing, baking, painting, woodworking, crocheting, photography, these are just a few talents that can pay off when you are making gifts. Maybe you are great at wrapping gifts. If you have a friend who does not have the time or talent to wrap all of their gifts, your gift to them could be providing that service. There are many ways to be thoughtful and helpful that will matter more to someone than a store-bought gift.

Some of my favorite gifts, given and received, are truly homemade. My mother in law knits the most wonderful socks. They are warm and wonderful, in fun colors and last forever. I still wear some she gave me nearly a decade ago. One year I bought a three-ring binder and some clear inserts to hold index cards. I slid a picture of my brother in law in the front cover, copied some of his favorite recipes onto note cards and inserted them. He still uses it, many years later, having added many more recipes to it. It truly is the thought, not the expense, that counts!

There is still time to plan ahead for the 2020 holiday season. Come in and set up a Christmas Club and make an effort to pay down existing debts in the new year. This will put you in a better position for next year. I hope you have found this to be helpful.

Your friends at Gardiner FCU wish you all a Merry Christmas & Healthy Happy Holiday Season!

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