Have you made your holiday gift list yet? If not, it is definitely time to get started. Waiting until the last minute not only leads to needless stress, it can also result in overspending. A little financial planning will help you stay on budget—and ensure a more relaxing, enjoyable season!
1. Decide on an overall gift budget and the people for whom you’ll be buying. Whether it’s a small group of family and close friends, just the kids, or a larger circle that includes coworkers, the mailman, your hair stylist, etc., write down every name (or use a list app on your mobile device).
2. Assign a budget for each person, and make a note of that by his or her name, along with comments about possible gifts. Keeping the list on your phone makes it easy to add or delete ideas and avoid random purchases.
3. Start putting money aside now. If you’re using credit, consider designating just one card for gift shopping so it’s easier to track whether you’re staying within your total budget.
4. A prepaid gift card is a great option if someone’s wish list item is over your price range.
5. Remember, gifts do not need to cost a lot of money to be meaningful. Get crafty or artistic. Design a certificate for a helpful service, such as free babysitting, house cleaning or painting a room. Make a modern version of the mix-tape with a digital playlist of special music. Propagate cuttings of plants or try canning homegrown vegetables. No matter what, your thoughtfulness will shine through.
Bonus Tip: Jump-start your holidays by opening a Keesler Federal Christmas Club account now. By designating an amount to be automatically transferred into the account each pay period, you’ll soon build a healthy nest egg for next year’s holiday shopping.