The holiday season is now upon us. With Thanksgiving approaching soon and Christmas just around the corner, now is a good time to review some budgeting tips and gather ideas for gift giving this season.
This time of year is typically a very expensive season for most people. Not only do we give more gifts and attend holiday parties, we also have our annual property taxes due. And, for those who pay their income taxes quarterly, the final installment is due in January. Keeping mindful of your budget during this season can keep you from having a blue (or red) Christmas.
For those on a tighter budget, it can be a good idea to set up a planned savings beginning in January for the next Christmas. Figure out what your budget for next Christmas is going to be and start saving 1/12 of the amount each month. When December comes, it won’t be as big of a hit for your bank account (or addition to your credit card bill) since you have been saving all year for the holiday season.
Many people already have enough stuff. Maybe it is time to think of some other types of gifts you can give. Why not give the gift of a shared experience? Spending time together as a family can create lifelong bonds and memories that last beyond when the latest gadget needs to be updated. Take the family to a theater event or a long weekend getaway. Serve together in a local shelter or non-profit that benefits the less fortunate in our communities. Sharing common experiences strengthens the relationships in the family.
You can also give a gift that has a lifelong impact. Putting money aside for your children or grandchildren’s education will help keep them out of debt when they go to school and provide for a quality education to get them a head start on life. Or purchasing a life insurance policy for your children or grandchildren will provide protection in the event something unfortunate happens, and if life goes well, it can provide them with access to tax-preferred funds for the future and protect their insurability.
As we enter this holiday season, be sure to take the time to say thanks to those who are close to you. If you need help with any of this, please reach out to your trusted SFC advisor. And remember, we are never too busy to help those you love and care about.