Money Talk Monday: Plan ahead for Christmas

By Debra Avara

 

Christmas is coming……

Yes, Christmas is in the stores, I’ve already seen snowflakes, and commercials are telling us the Christmas movies countdown is about to begin! Augh!

A survey last year said 45 percent of us would prefer to skip Christmas due to the financial pressure it brings.

You can be prepared, and you don’t have to go into debt to give your gifts.

Step One: Make a list of who you must buy for.

Step Two: Make a list of those you’d like to buy for.

Step Three: Make a plan. Start thinking now and figure out what your budget is going to be.

Here’s some hints for gifts:

Do you have friends with children? Give them a $10 gift card to the movies and an IOU for a free night of babysitting.

For a female friend or sister, hit a garage sale and see if they have any baskets. I just bought 2 for $0.50. Or, buy one at the Dollar store, and add lotions, bath salts, and candles. $5.00, done.

Wal-Mart has wonderful blanket throws for $2.88; add some slippers that have lotion in them (under $3.), and a candle. Under $10.

If you have to buy for a bunch of friends, and you all get along, do a gift exchange. Make it fun, buy 1 gag gift, agree on the max price, and have a get together. Instead of buying for 6, you buy 1. Done.

Younger brothers or sisters? IOU for a date, just the 2 of you, movie, burgers or ice cream.

Children? Need clothes or toys?? Check the Children’s Exchange clearance store, or other thrift stores. I’ve found brand new items, still with tags, for $0.75 or less; $20 games unopened for $3.You just need a little bit of time to look.

Garage sales are also a great source for gifts. Many times you can find brand new games, trinkets, knick knacks..all new. Again – you just need a little time!

Good luck. And remember, start now and don’t go over your set budget.

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