Holiday Budgeting

It may seem a little too early to start thinking about buying those holiday gifts, but Financial professional Dale McCarty, President of Retirement Designers Financial Group, says now is actually a good time to start planning and saving, before the holiday rush begins!

1. What are some things people can try to do, to save money as we approach holiday shopping time?
- Sometimes, a lack of holiday savings can be an extension of an unstructured/lack of a formal financial strategy. To solve this dilemma, we can try and solve the bigger issue and create a good financial strategy.
- Create a budget you can work off of and try and stick to that budget.
- Look at what you spent last year on holiday gifts for each person. Then, try creating a budget based off that.
- Then look at what you spent for each person. That might help you decide if you need to adjust those amounts this year.

2. Some people make holiday shopping budgets, but have a hard time sticking to them – any tips on staying within budget?
- Take that budget or list with you when you go out shopping. Or keep it with you so that when you see something you might want to buy, you can keep track of it, and try sticking to your gift list.
- Start shopping and watch for sales now, as opposed to waiting for black Friday deals.
- There are other small ways to spread out holiday costs that could add up to more savings in December.

3. What are some ideas for gifts that don’t come in a box?
- Other options like gift cards could be a good choice so you don’t potentially waste money on a gift that they don’t need or want.
- Another idea that could be good for grandparents or other family members to give, is contributing to a college savings fund for another relative.
- Donating to charity in someone’s name can also be another thoughtful gift.

4. Why should people start planning now for the holiday shopping season?
- Saving now can help you avoid credit card bills in January. If you start now, and start chipping away at your buying list, it will also help you avoid the pressure to overspend as the holidays get closer and avoid the rush. We want to try to end the cycle of putting holiday gifts on credit cards, so you don’t spend the New Year paying off last year.