The holiday season can be especially stressful for some and although we can’t solve any family tensions or make your in-laws do an abrupt 180 we can lend some insight to help keep your wallet from stressing too.

Set a Total Holiday Budget – Ahead of Time

We cannot stress this one enough! Know the grand total that both you can and are willing to devote towards holiday shopping. This not only sets the boundaries for responsible spending but it also helps to prevent the “splurge” you otherwise might make along the way. This also can help make the process less overwhelming and stressful as you break the overall budget down to allocations for all those that are on the nice list this year.

Compare Prices Online & By Phone

In an increasingly competitive world of price matching and flash sales the internet can be a powerful tool to scour for the best prices. However, don’t immediately take the local stores out of the running. Placing a few calls may pick up on a deal that isn’t advertised online. If there is at least a price match offered from a reputable local store, it can give you the assurance that you are obtaining a genuine product (without the two day wait also!). Let us not forget to take advantage of coupon codes where possible too!

Be Realistic on Your List of Recipients

You may get caught up in the generosity of the holiday spirit. However, remember that it is a jolly man with eight reindeer who has the job of giving gifts worldwide. If your list of recipients reads like one of the long scrolls of the naughty or nice list you may want to review if giving that far and wide still is feasible. One rule of thumb that can be considered is family plus five. Immediate family is a given, and after the next 5 closest recipients you begin to look closer at who you add onward.

Budget based on your finances

There are times where you may feel like the gifts you give need to live up to the financial stature of those being given to you. This is where the age-old “its the thought that counts” phrase most likely originated, and it couldn’t be more true! Being thoughtful and considerate of one another is a true hallmark of the holiday spirit. When we try to level up to the spending of others we are not only playing the holiday version of “keeping up with the Jones'” but quite honestly, we may make our recipient feel bad knowing we stretched financially to purchase the gift we’ve given.

Personalized gifts may go farther than any price tag

As we spoke about previously, its the thought that counts. Take for example, something that is unique to who you are to someone, or unique to your natural talents. Those are the things that can’t be gotten in a store! A wonderful example of this is in my own father. These days no gadget, tool, collectible, vacation or experience holds a candle to his grand-kids. The time making memories and the photos that adorn his walls of them. Any nick-nack school-store items that his “grand-kiddos” personally picked or made mean the absolute world to him above all.

Looking to give yourself a gift?

There’s no better time to get a plan together! If you or someone you know can benefit from financial planning feel free to choose from the following:

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