Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the season...

...for Christmas shopping? Sure, but, in times like these, it's easy to forget that it is the thought of giving and not the price of the gift that counts!

Budget-friendly tips for the season:
1. Set aside an amount to SAVE before beginning to shop. Remember, Expenses = INCOME - Savings!
2. Now that you have a budget, stick to it. Don't worry that the receiver will scoff at the price (should it be obvious). It's a gift, and gifts are always welcome!
3. Hold on to that credit card. As much as possible, don't swipe. You don't want to start the new year with a big credit card bill. Either pay in cash or debit, or buy that special person something more affordable but still nice and useful.
4. Personalize your gifts! Add a handwritten card with a dedication longer than "Merry Christmas" and you're sure to enhance the receiver's "gift opening experience," no matter how simple the actual gift is. It just makes people feel more special!
5. Remember that you don't have to give everyone a gift. It might sound cruel and selfish, but it really isn't if you think about it. The gift-giving tradition is a means for us to thank family and friends for making the year wonderful. If you can't give a gift, thank the person in a different way: do a favor, share something you have received (like a box of brownies), or write a helpful note or an email.
6. Forget yourself. There's enough time in a year to shop for yourself. Besides, January is sale month (hint).

This season, don't let the lights, the special offers, and the shopping high mar the true meaning of Christmas. Take some time each day away from the noise and the parties to contemplate the Baby in the manger. When all this is through, you'll see that what matters most is preparing the heart--and you'll be glad you didn't spend too much on the frivolous!

Friday, December 2, 2011