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    11 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2008 2:23 PM by iventures

    Holiday Gift Giving: How Your Budget can Survive the Season

    iventures Adventurer
      'Tis the season to be jolly, but all the money you're spending on gifts for friends and family may have you
      feeling less than merry. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of holiday overspending out of a misguided sense of obligation. Take the following simple measures to prevent a financial meltdown

      -- Make a list, and check it twice -- planning a realistic budget ahead of time will help ward off financial stress after the holidays. Make a list of those you will give gifts to with a dollar amount next to each name. And stick to it!

      -- Manage expectations -- tell your kids, family and friends that you're simplifying for the holidays and then do it.

      -- Start saving in sooner -- salting away even $10 a week will help get you through the holiday season. Paying cash is far less stressful than paying those high finance charges.

      -- Get a head start -- no that doesn't mean hitting the sales at 4 a.m. Try to finish gift shopping by Thanksgiving at the latest to avoid the holiday rush.

      -- Don't wait in line, get online -- the online world of shopping means no lines and no gas wasted battling through traffic. Browse at your leisure whenever you have spare time and you'll be done before you know it. Be sure to start early to save on shipping costs.

      -- Do it yourself -- home-made gifts offer a personal touch that store bought presents can't beat. Plan ahead so you aren't stressed to finish them on time.

      -- Start a family exchange -- pull names out of a hat to make sure its fair. Gift exchanges allow each person to buy a thoughtful gift as opposed to several so-so ones -- and you won't go broke.

      -- Use a rewards credit card -- if you're going to be charging it anyways, use a rewards card to get the most out of your dollar. Those holiday purchases can help you earn miles for a cheap or even free vacation
      later in the future.

      Above all, keep your priorities in order. The holiday season is a time for loved ones to come together; it's not just gift giving. Do your best to plan ahead and start early; avoiding last minute spending and stress will
      ensure that you and your finances survive the holiday crush.