Don’t rob Peter to pay Claus this Christmas!

Hey remember, there is life after Christmas – also bills and other obligations.  So if you did not get a chance this year to set something aside to purchase Christmas gifts, it may not be a good idea to rob Peter to pay Claus!

As Christmas draws near, many of us will buy gifts for loved ones and even for people we don’t know.  According to a Gallup poll, Americans believe they will spend an average of $700 for Christmas gifts alone.  For most of us, that is equivalent to a mortgage payment.But before making your list and checking it twice, there are some things you should consider so that this Christmas will not cause a financial setback.

Plan Ahead

This may seem obvious, but planning ahead can reduce impulsive purchasing, which can also help you save money.  Take a moment, create a list of all those you have a desire to purchase for.  Then – look at it again…..does your neighbor really need a gift from you?  Or can a holiday card suffice.  Try not to get caught up to purchase for every single person you have encountered, but continue to compile your list to those that really truly matter.Make a commitment – starting this year, start putting a small amount away so that you would be financially prepared next year.  Just setting aside a mere $40 per month will provide you with a Christmas fund close to $500 by this time next year.

Love is the best gift of all:)

I know, I know……a diamond would look so much better under the tree, but if you simply can’t afford it, don’t dig yourself into debt.  Consider having a talk with loved ones about placing limits on gifts, trading names in larger families or doing things more meaningful – like creating a spa day at home for your loved one.Also, consider volunteering as a family at shelters and nonprofits to help those who are less fortunate than you.  Not only will you feel better, but you will be doing a good service for those in need.  Besides – as I look at my Wii console in my living room, it makes me realize that all these gifts are great for the moment, but as time passes it quickly becomes a thing of the past.  Giving back is the greatest gift of all!

Remember, Your Choice, Your Future! Happy Holidays:))

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and a business professor at Dillard University. Subscribe to her personal finance blog at Kemberley.com.  Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.

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