Beverly Butler: The holidays are a favorite time of year for many of us. While we may enjoy the season, we also know a stress free one may seem like an impossible goal, especially with the additional money we may be spending.
A simple way to help make sure your holidays are as peaceful as possible is to manage your gift giving wisely. Let's go over a few tips for enjoying a debt free holiday season.
One, make a list of everything you will need to buy for the holidays so you aren't as tempted to overspend. Who are you buying gifts for this year? Are you planning any parties or preparing a special meal? Will you have guests staying at your home? Will you need to travel, if so, how? Are you going to ship some or all of your gifts?
Two, set a budget for each expense. Remember, the person receiving your gift would not want you to spend more than you can afford. If your budget is tight, ask your family and friends if you can draw names for gift giving, then everyone can spend less.
Three, start saving early and write it into your monthly budget. Many banks have holiday fund accounts that pay interest and will automatically withdraw a set amount from your checking and deposit it into the fund. Four, start shopping early. You can find great deals online and many companies provide free shipping. If you are going to the mall, don't forget your list and budget. And finally, try not to disrupt your bill paying or savings habits over the holidays. With these few simple tips you will be more on your way to enjoying a debt free and low stress holiday season.