To help reduce holiday stress and after-holiday bills, often known as the holiday financial hangover, now is the time to start preparing for upcoming holiday expenses.
So before the holiday season steps into high gear, and you step out the door to do some shopping on Black Friday, take time to get prepared.
Review your current financial situation and determine a holiday spending limit that works with your family budget.
To make certain you are not tempted to increase your limit as the season progresses, develop a holiday budget for gift-giving, food, travel and entertainment expenses.
Potential additional expenses which are often forgotten in a holiday budget include gasoline, babysitter fees and eating out more often.
As you work on your budget, start by making a list of everyone you plan to give a gift, including children, loved ones, teachers, babysitters, hair stylist, etc. Identify a realistic spending limit and possible gift idea for each person on your list.
It is important that you not feel pressured to give anyone a gift. If your finances are tighter this year than normal, consider a hand-written note expressing thanks or appreciation.
Continue to work your way through your holiday budget estimating other anticipated expenses. If you have receipts or credit card statements from last year, you may be able to use these as a guide in developing a realistic estimate for travel, entertainment and food expenses.
As you are preparing your finances for the upcoming holidays, you will also want to think about how you pay for your holiday shopping and expenses.
You are less likely to overspend if you pay with cash as opposed to using a credit card. If you are using cash, once all your cash is gone, you are finished with your holiday shopping.
Many stores are now offering layaway plans. If you decide to use a store layaway option, be certain to check the return policy and keep track of all payments.
Plan your holiday shopping trips ahead of time. Review store ads and know exactly who and what you are shopping for prior to entering the store. This is particularly easy to do now, since many stores post their ads online well in advance of the actual sale.
Impromptu shopping trips and wandering around a store looking for gift ideas can lead to impulsive purchases, which were not part of your original budget. Do your window shopping at home using catalogs or online so that you know exactly what you want when are at the store.
Finally, remember holiday sales can be tempting, but once you are in the store stick with your original budget.
Source: Jennifer L. Hunter, Extension Specialist for Family Financial Management, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
- Lifestyles & Community
Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond
Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?
Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.
We old folks have unique experiences
A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and I thought my readers would enjoy it.
Hope’s Wings volunteers need your help today
Help a local resident “get out of jail,” and in turn help men, women and children break the cycle of domestic violence in Madison and surrounding counties.
Bereans named Foster Parents of Year, Outstanding Adoptive Parent
Stephanie and Doug Gillum of Berea will be honored as Foster Parents of the Year tonight during an appreciation reception at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Puppet parade planned Saturday in Berea
The city of Berea will be celebrating Puppets in the Park on Saturday as part of the National Day of Puppetry.
Animal group seeks volunteers to assist with spay/neuter clinic
The Madison County Humane Society/Animal League for Life is reaching out to the community for help with its low-cost spay and neuter clinic.
The clinic, which operates at the HS/ALL adoption center at 128-C Big Hill Avenue, has spayed or neutered more than 2,000 dogs and cats since it opened in July 2012, according to volunteer Lynn Grove.
State funding to help keep domestic violence shelter open
Money for Madison County domestic violence intervention in the recently passed $20 billion state budget will be used to keep the Hope’s Wings shelter open.
The budget bill now awaits the governor’s signature.
Pets of the Week
This week's cat is Jett, a neutered and front declawed 5-year-old male.
This week's dog is Ace, a 2-year-old male Chihuahua mix.
Expanded Local Foods Expo is Saturday in Berea
The annual Local Foods Expo, sponsored by Sustainable Berea, has outgrown its humble beginnings, a workshop with 40 attendees five years ago.
This year’s event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on the lawn of the Berea Welcome Center (old L&N Depot) in Old Town on Broadway.
Diabetes walk Saturday at YMCA
The Stepping Out for Diabetes 2014 walk will start 11 a.m. Saturday at the Telford YMCA, 1100 E. Main St., Richmond.
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