Horizons' tips for last minute holiday shopping that keep you free of debt stress:
Consider creative gift-giving: When it comes to gifts, we all know it’s the thought that counts. Consider gifts that have a personal touch, such as homemade gifts like cookies, candies or other prepared foods. Consider making a fruit basket, which is both economical and healthy. And a personal gift certificate good for your time and talents such as baby sitting, washing the car, running errands, or cooking a meal are always appreciated.
Make a shopping list and pay with cash. Stick to your shopping list and spending limit! A realistic budget is essential for keeping spending under control. Pay with cash when possible and leave your checkbook and credit cards at home to avoid temptations for unplanned and unnecessary purchases.
Keep track of your spending. Tally the receipts from all holiday expenses, including gifts, postage, meals, entertainment and decorations. Once you’ve completed your shopping list, stop shopping! More mall time can amount to more spending. Those who have kept to their budgets will start the year with less debt and less stress.
Even those with the best of intentions may end the holiday shopping season with more debt than you planned. Remember, you don’t have to solve your financial problems alone. Horizons has trained and certified credit counselors who offer financial management and debt reduction services that are low-cost. Horizons is a nonprofit, community-based organization and a Member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC). For more information on call 319-398-3943.