Yes, I know we just celebrated 2015 Holidays, but this is a great time to think about what went well, what didn’t, and how to make changes so that our 2016 Holiday can be successful without breaking the bank. While you are sifting through those holiday receipts and credit card statements, think about how you can do things differently or maybe even the same next time.

Who did you buy presents for during holidays? Did you buy gifts for people that were not in your original plan? Sometimes we feel obligated to purchase gifts for people who give us gifts. If this seems to happen to you every year, this is a good time to find bargains on little gifts that can be given as opportunities pop up.

Did you travel? Even trips across town can add up. Plan your shopping trips ahead of time by reviewing store ads for upcoming sales. This step will lower costs while also helping to reduce impulsive decisions while you are shopping.

Consider new holiday traditions. Did you have to buy for everyone in the family? Consider a grab bag gift exchange so that you are responsible for buying only one gift. Remember to set a spending limit.

Make a spending plan. Look at receipts and credit card statements to see where you spent your money. Do you think holiday 2016 will have similar expenditures? If so, now you can save on a weekly or monthly basis so that you can be prepared and not have to put expenses on credit.

Start a holiday planning checklist. It can include everything you need to buy, places you need to go, and people you need to see. The list will help you focus on holiday preparations one step at a time.

The 2016 Holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Starting preparations now and taking small steps will go a long way in helping us to enjoy the season.

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Guest Contributor: Elaine Harrison, AFC®

February 01, 2016

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