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
County’s oldest consignment sale begins today
The Little Ones’ Consignment Sale, Madison County’s oldest semi-annual sale of its kind, is open to the public 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Friday) and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the multi-ministry center behind United Methodist Church, West Main Street, Richmond. Marked items are half price on Saturday.
There’s more to do at the Village Trough
“I wish there was more to do here.”
Do you ever find yourself saying this sentence as you sit there bored out of your mind? Have you heard others ask it?
Well, there is something more to do now that Village Trough in Berea is staging shows with local and regional talent and preparing to open as a full dining and entertainment venue.
Let’s have a Mardi Gras party in Kentucky
It’s the time of year when the people in New Orleans celebrate a festival called Mardi Gras. Many states now do the same. Some call it “Fat Tuesday” which I have never understood till I went to New Orleans (five times) and saw all of the excitement for myself.
Beat the winter blues with meatballs
When it’s this cold outside it’s nice to warm up with some good comfort food.
I can think of few things more wonderful than the smell of simmering meatballs coming from the kitchen while I cuddle with my two young children, and a few good books, on a brisk winter day.
Taste test Thursday
The sun is shining, but the chill has returned, so I hope you made the most of the warm, sunny weather this weekend.
The spring greens are being as tentative as the warm temperatures, but there is talk of lettuce being harvested and a continued trickle of kale, pea shoots, miner’s lettuce and spinach. To make room for the spring harvests, winter squash and sweet potatoes have been marked down to $1/pound and pumpkins are only 50 cents/pound.
Buttercups in grazed pastures
One of the signs that spring has arrived is when the yellow flowers of buttercup begin to appear, but it’s during the winter months that the vegetative growth of buttercup takes place.
As a cool season weed, this plant often flourishes in overgrazed pasture fields with poor stands of desirable forages. In fact, many fields that have dense buttercup populations are fields heavily grazed by animals during the fall through the early spring months.
Make a difference this summer, volunteer at 4-H Camp
On June 30 more than 200 Madison County kids will load a bus headed for four days and three nights of fun at 4-H Summer Camp.
Campers will have a chance to hike, swim, dance and spend time learning about the environment, their friends and themselves.
And we need your help to make it possible!
A whole lot going on
Downtown Richmond Farmers Market opening
The new Downtown Richmond Farmers Market officially opens Saturday.
This market will set up in downtown Richmond on North First Street between Main and Irvine streets Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (weather permitting).
For more details, go to www.downtownrichmndfarmersmarket.com. There you will find an events calendar and how to sign up for workshops that will be conducted at the market.
A Visit with a bell-The Dinner Bell Restaurant in Berea
I have wanted for some time to visit and interview people and food establishments here in Madison County and surrounding areas that you may have not gotten a chance to visit. \
I chose the Dinner Bell in Berea for my column this week.
Extension celebrates 100 years of nutrition education
For the past 100 years, families in Kentucky have looked to the Cooperative Extension Service to learn better ways to be healthy.
- More Lifestyles & Community Headlines
- County’s oldest consignment sale begins today