The holiday season is here again, which means it’s time to brave the crowds, head out to the stores and load up on holiday gifts for your friends and loved ones. If you’re like many, you probably get great joy out of providing your family and friends with presents that they will enjoy and appreciate. If you have grandchildren, you may even go out of your way to spoil them with presents.

While it’s natural to want to give as much as possible, it’s also important that you don’t break the bank with holiday spending. After all, even if you retired recently, you could have decades’ worth of holiday seasons in front of you. Spend too much today, and you may not be able to pay for presents in the future.

Below are a few tips to consider before you start buying presents. Stick to these guidelines, and you will likely have a very happy, and budget-friendly, holiday season.

Develop a plan.

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make during the holiday season is buying gifts on the fly without any kind of plan. It’s easy to lose track of your spending when you’re making impromptu, impulse buying decisions.

Instead, write down the names of everyone on your holiday gift list. Come up with a total amount that you can safely spend without causing yourself financial distress. Then divide that amount between each person on the list.

You don’t have to allocate spending evenly. Your grandchildren may each get $100 worth of spending, while nieces and nephews may get only $25 apiece. That’s for you to decide. However, it’s important that you assign budgeted amounts to each person, and then keep your spending within those figures.

Pay with cash.

When you’re determining your spending limit, make sure you plan on using only cash to fund purchases. While a credit card may give you a greater spending allowance, it will also generate a substantial amount of interest. That interest could compound for years, significantly driving up the cost of your purchases and perhaps threatening your financial future.

Resist the urge to use a credit card. Plan on paying with cash. If you don’t have enough cash to fund your planned purchases, you may want to reassess your spending plans.

Be creative in your gift ideas.

Not all gifts have to cost money. There may be plenty of things you can give that don’t cost a dime and that are more meaningful than a purchased item. For example, if one of your grown children has young kids, you could give them a baby-sitting coupon book for the year. It could be full of coupons that range from an hour’s worth of babysitting all the way up to overnight stays. The parents can redeem those coupons at any time as long as they provide notice.

Also, consider whether everyone on your list should really get a gift. Cousins, nieces, nephews or longtime friends would probably be just as happy with a card and a thoughtful note. They likely don’t want you to put yourself in financial difficulty just to buy them a gift.

Need help developing your retirement spending budget? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at Intelliplan Financial. We can help you analyze your spending needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.


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