That Jingling You Hear May Not Be Bells

Posted by Richard on November 6, 2019

For those caught up in the buying frenzy of the holidays, Christmas Eve could find them with a handful of change in their pockets and little else. Of course, every year you think you’ll avoid the rush by accumulating gifts throughout the year. That would be smart, but it doesn’t do much good in November and December and the shopping list looms.

A survey by The Wall Street Journal shows that more of us are controlling credit card debt by adopting new traditions that reduce the loot under the tree. Women do most of the Christmas shopping, says Eileen Fischer of York University in Canada, who studies consumer behavior. They give gifts to reinforce relationships with spouses, kids, in-laws, co-workers, friends and helpers.

Here is some classic advice on keeping your holidays affordable:
1. If you have a multitude of relatives to buy for, talk with them about exchanging cards this year. They will be happy to do it in most cases.
2. Decide in advance how much you will spend on gifts.
3. Give gift certificates to teens. They keep you within your specific amount, and teens enjoy shopping.
4. Skip the stocking stuffers.
5. Shop with a specific list, especially online where easy clicks add up to big money.
6. Don’t buy for yourself at the same time. Stick to the project.
7. Financial advisor Jane Bryant Quinn says: Add up your consumer debt and write the number at the top of your shopping list or computer.
8. An advantage of buying less: Less time spent opening gifts. It can drag on and on for a large group.

The holidays are more joyful when you know you can pay the bills as they arrive in January.

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