Make a List and Check It Twice

Being Financially Responsible During the Holiday Season

By:Kelly Emmons

The holidays can be tons of fun and loads of stress. The stress especially applies to finances. If you are familiar with pinching pennies or taking on debt to make it through the holidays, then you understand. Planning can help you to have a happier, stress-free holiday season this year.

What can be done to reduce the stress of holiday spending?

Make a List

Now that the holiday season is here, it is time to make a list of the friends, family, and co-workers you typically exchange gifts with. On the list write down what you want to buy for each person and how much you want to spend. This gives you a clear idea of how many gifts you need to purchase and a budget for those gifts. Experts agree that making a list of all you plan to shop for helps before you hit the stores or shop online.

Plan for Extras

Don’t forget to give thought to how much you need to spend on things besides gifts for the holiday season. This can include postage for gifts that need to be shipped, wrapping paper, greeting cards, decorations, food, drinks, holiday meals and outings, travel expenses and possibly more.

Check It Twice

Now that you have made a list its time to check it twice! Decide how much you have available to cover all Christmas expenses. When you are determining this amount make sure that you only use money that you have set aside for Christmas. Make changes to your list if necessary based on how much you have available to spend. The amount you have available to spend is your budget.

Look for Bargains

Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for and whom you are buying for you can look for bargains. Bargains can be a holiday shopper’s best friend! Take advantage of sales, coupons, and discounts.

No Impulse Shopping

Do not impulse shop. Buy only what is on your list and stay within the budget. If something comes up such as you forgot to add someone to your list, add them to your holiday budget and, if necessary adjust the amounts to keep the same total and not exceed the original budget.


Keep all of your receipts. This will help you to easily track what you have spent. Expenses add up fast. Seeing the totals spent will provide you with a reality check and let you know how much more you can spend to stay within your budget.

Don’t be a Procrastinator

Tip for next year from a savvy shopper: Start saving in January to make holiday shopping even easier. If you put money aside each month for holiday expenses, they will not seem as overwhelming. There will be no need to worry about gifts, trips, and enjoying the season. Look at what you spend this year and divide it by twelve or if you would like to spend more choose a reasonable amount and divide that number by twelve.

The key takeaway is to stay within your budget! By following these tips you can have a successful, stress-free holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

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One thought on “Make a List and Check It Twice”

  1. This is too perfect! I know the holidays sure do overwhelm me lol plus I’m a hard core impulse buyer so this made me laugh. Perfect for anyone trying to stay sane this season.

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