Christmas: Fishing Time

The Christmas season is upon us and you know what that means.

It means that retailers have already figured out where the fish (you) are and they are ready to release the bait (“the deal”) that the fish want.

On Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving - mall parking lots and department stores will be crowded with people who will be seeking a deal.  On Cyber Monday, the Internet will have quite a bit of traffic to popular retail site by deal seekers.  A deal is a great thing, but this Christmas season, let’s not seek a deal.  Let’s seek what we are in need of.  The retailers want customer to exceed their budgets and they make it very convenient to do so.

Here is a short list of five things that you can consider before you go out seeking a deal during the Christmas season:

1.      Don’t rely on the fact that you will be receiving an income tax return check in January which you will use to pay off your Christmas spending bill.  Yes you may be receiving a check during the tax season but that check could go to invest in your future or assist you in getting out of debt.  Why not consider taking one of those actions with your anticipated income tax refund?

2.      Make a list of items that you need and only seek deals for those items.  (Need here simply means that the item is a necessity for survival.)  Don’t allow the retailers to reel you in.  You have to make wise decisions for your future and that of your family.  Buy what you absolutely need.  You will get a good price on something you need. 

3.      Consider donating some or all of the money set aside for Christmas shopping to those less fortunate than you.  There are many who are less fortunate than we are.  Let’s remember them during the Christmas holiday.  There will also still be people who are displaced from the storms in the northeastern part of the US.  Help someone out, the nature of Christmas is birthed in giving to those who are less fortunate and in need of assistance.  Lend a helping hand; let’s not forget about those who are in need.

4.      Consider giving your children, nieces, nephews or godchildren gifts that will assist them in the future.  One thing that you might want to do is by a share or a few shares of stock and offer this as a gift to your children or relatives who are in the earlier stages of life.  They may look at you funny but over time if the money is invested properly these young people will thank you greatly when they get older. Think investment. 

5.      Create a budget for your Christmas spending and stick to it. This should have been the first, second and third option.  Above everything on the list, establish a budget – parameters on what you are able to spend on Christmas shopping while still maintaining your monthly, weekly and/or daily expenses.  If you do not have a plan with regard to a budget, you are most certain to spend money that you cannot afford to spend.