MAGNOLIA MINUTE/Ways to spend wisely this Christmas holiday


Christmas is almost here, and the magical of the sea- son can be felt everywhere. Black Friday sales started earlier, and Cyber Monday stretched into a Cyber Week. Temptation is every- where. So, how do you pre- vent overspending this holiday? Here are some simple ways that you might not have thought about to help keep you from blow- ing your budget this Christ- mas. 


It’s a well-known fact. Christmas comes on De- cember 25 every year. So, why wait until the last minute to begin shopping for those stocking stuffers and other gift items. Begin early. How early? The best day to start shopping for Christmas is December 27 or some time that week when all those Christmas items go on sale. Tupper- ware, dinnerware, and grills often go on sale the first of spring. Purchase these items early and store 

them away for the upcom- ing holiday. And, don’t for- get to sign up for store discounts and loyalty cards. These will help you nab some of those gifts at a discounted price. You can also receive emails to help you keep up with impor- tant store sales. Of course, electronics are often at the lowest rate on Black Friday. 


Creating a Vision Board can help you to stay grounded this holiday sea- son. What is a Vision Board, and how can it help keep you from blowing your budget? A vision board is board where you post your goals. It provides a visual reminder of what you are trying to accom- plish financially. All you will need to add to the board is the amount of money you plan to save or spend this holiday season. Be sure to keep it in a place where you can see. Remember, “Out of Sight is Out of Mind.” 


Go ahead and make your Christmas gift-giving list. Then, be sure to add three or four extra, inexpensive “What-if” gifts to your list. There are always people who you end up having to buy a gift for that were not originally on your list. So, budget in those last-minute stocking stuffers. This will help to prevent the stress of trying to find the extra money needed to pay for those “surprise”gifts. 


Make a list of the things the people on your Christ- mas list like. This list should be kept where you can find it, and it shouldn’t magi- cally appear in November or December. You can use this list all year, and when an item that one of the people on your list would like to have goes on sale, grab it. It doesn’t matter if the sale is in May. Purchase the item and pack it away until Christmas. Some stores have loyalty cards or membership cards, and they offer great discounts throughout the year. Take advantage of these discounts. Of course, you can’t pack away per- ishable, and people’s tastes and/or desired can change. So, be a prudent shopper. 


So, you’re out shopping, and the munches hit. It is so easy to whip into one of those fast-food restaurants and grab a meal. However, those quick, convenient meals will cost you in the long run. It is much cheaper and healthier to eat at home. In order to be successful at doing this, you will need to plan ahead. This means eating before you leave home and strategically planning the length of your shopping trip to coincide with your eating schedule. 

Another alternative is to pack snacks. You can take along some dried fruit or even those 100-calorie snack packs to help keep the munches away. You can also opt for water instead of those expensive sodas. Water is much better for your body. Plus, water is usually free. 

Don’t blow your budget this Christmas. Use the above financial tips to make your Christmas both merry and bright. 

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