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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas and Money

Today's post is just a few ways that I am trying to cut back a little at Christmas this year. I am one of those people that goes overboard when it comes to giving (or shopping in general) at Christmas time. I will go shopping and come back with a tonne more stuff than I planned to get.

This year will hopefully be a little different, and I'll show you how. The main problem that I get into is that I will go into a store with a goal of what I want to buy for someone, and then come back with that gift, along with other small gifts for other people. I will still buy for those people a major gift, but the small gifts really add up. It is what has made stores like WalMart extremely successful over the years!

This year I will try to make a lot of my purchases online. The advantage of this is that it is more difficult for me to get distracted and make additional purchases. When I have to make a direct purchase, I will just bring cash with me. I have been saving up $20 per paycheque to put towards Christmas all year, so when my cash runs out my spending runs out as well.

You can make a budget for what you want to spend on each person. I know that budgets aren't sexy, but they are effective. If you announce to your family, "lets spend $100 per person this year", no one will be offended. Some people really go overboard and try to be the person who gives the best gifts, so by doing this we all have a limit to be set to.

Finally, I make a list of what I want to purchase. Rather than going to the store and saying "I have $50 that I want to spend on Billy" and then scrambling around to find him something, plan it out beforehand so you can shop around a bit. Shopping with lists makes it more difficult to make some of these small purchases which really add up. Also, planning your shopping in advance rather than waiting to the last minute gives you a chance to check prices as time goes on, rather than paying whatever the store wants you to pay the week before Christmas.

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