He’s making a list…maybe you should too…

Monday, November 16th, 2009 by Charles Mayfield, CFP®


If you should happen to catch a glimpse of Santa this holiday season…take a look at that big belt he is wearing.  Chances are he has cinched that thing in a notch or two.  Perhaps we should all approach this holiday season with fiscal responsibility in mind.  Here are just a few thoughts about getting through the holidays without a whopping credit card bill waiting for you in 2010:


Have a meeting (with the adults):  It is important to have a real discussion with your loved ones about the budget and what everyone should expect this holiday season.  Whether single or married, with or without children; we all have loved ones to think about when it comes to presents.  Some ideas here are…

  • - Find out what people “really” want…no need in spending hard earned money on something they don’t want/need
  • - Set guidelines for how much to spend on each family member (the same rules don’t have to apply to everyone)

Write down your budget:  How much can you spend on everything?  Commit to a figure and don’t waiver from it.  You’ll have to be disciplined and figure out how to stretch those dollars as far as possible.

  • - Set up a “gift account” and put you’ve budgeted for presents in there

Most banks offer pretty low fees for new accounts…besides what is more expensive: a $30 account fee or blowing over your budget by $500?


  • - Stay on target…don’t spend money on things that aren’t on the list until you have crossed off the list and purchased all your gifts

Make a list…Really!:  it helps to write down your goals.  Click here to see my post from last year about goal setting.


In the case of gift shopping, the goal is to get the presents you intended on buying in the first place.  If you have already purchased something for a loved one through the course of the year…consider yourself lucky to have crossed that one off your list early.

  • - Have you been in a store during holiday shopping? They are doing everything they can to distract you and sell you something other than what you came in for


  • - Knowing what you need saves time, money, and sanity
  • - Helps keep you within budget

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