12 Tips for the Holidays: Gift and Spend with a Plan

November 19, 2012

It may be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but not everyone is excited for the holiday season. Along with the stresses of traveling and family, all that holiday cheer can come with a hefty price tag.

To help consumers make smarter choices about their holiday spending, Clarifi introduces its Twelve Tips for the Holidays. The tips will be broken up into three categories with four tips given every other week.

This week, our focus is on gift giving and our advice is: Have a plan before you shop.

“Stores make it so tempting to spend more money than you can afford around the holidays, so you definitely want to have a plan before you start shopping,” says Patty Hasson, President and Executive Director of Clarifi. “Know who you need to buy gifts for and set a budget for each person.”

Clarifi offers these four tips to help you with your holiday spending plan:

Make a list and check it twice
Santa has been doing this for centuries and so should you. Make a list of people you plan to give a gift to—before heading out to the stores. Even if you see a gift that would be perfect for someone you know, or you, if they’re not on the list, they're not getting it.

Kill two presents with one purchase
Many stores are offering gift card incentives if you spend a certain amount or buy a certain item. Consider giving the card to someone else or use the card to buy another gift.

Set a budget for each person
This is especially important if you have kids or want to give gifts to a lot of people. Set a limit for how much you will spend for each person and stick to that budget.

Be realistic
Remember that you and your wallet have limits. Overspending now will have its consequences when that credit card bill comes due in January. And if you can’t afford everything your family wants for the holidays, take comfort in the fact that you’ll be better able to take care of them—and yourself—with the money you save.

“Spending responsibly does not mean you have to be a Scrooge,” notes Hasson. “When you have a plan, it will make it easier to afford the gifts you need for others and make the season and New Year a lot less stressful for you.”