Budgets help holiday shopping

Published 12:52 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

Note: This is the first in a series.

With the gift-giving season swiftly on its way, experts say planning can help shoppers maintain a healthy budget and prevent post-holiday debt regrets.

Financial experts offer a variety of methods to reduce the cost of holiday spending and avoid the temptation of merchandise at “unbeatable prices.”

One technique is dubbed the “envelope method.” Simply create envelopes for each person you intend to shop for, place a set amount of money in each person’s respective envelope and do not spend more money that what is contained in the envelope. The simple method allows generosity to be equal and economical.

Phillip Jones of Jones and Associates PC in Andalusia said it is always wise to be mindful of limitations prior to traveling to the local shopping venue.

“Be practical and realistic in your gift giving,” he said. “It is just too easy overspend. Use cash whenever possible, but be aware of what cash you have available.

“We all need is to show more love and concern for each other rather than reflecting it in a material gift,” he added.

Jones said shoppers should also consider greater offerings that could be beneficial in two ways.

“Consider giving a cash gift to a charitable organization that may help others,” he said. “Whether it be a church, the American Red Cross or some other organization. You will be happy knowing you have given such a contribution and you can later count it as a tax deduction.”

Consumeraffairs.com offers a variety of budgeting techniques, among them shopping when you are at your best. Be sure to get ample rest prior to a big day out in the local shopping venues. If you are tired, then you will be less likely to shop around and find the best bargain.