It may seem strange to be discussing Christmas one month earlier, but you and I both know that, year after year, parents, husbands, wives, and kids spend too much on one another and, because they’ve relied on credit cards to pay for the holiday, January and February are “tight.”
Now, in November, is a far better time to get ahead of that train than two weeks before Christmas.
Let’s look at some ideas for making the holiday season more economically friendly.
Tips For Making the Christmas Season More Economically Friendly
Number one is simple – have a budget. How much will you spend on each member of the family? What friends are on the list? How much are you planning on spending for them?
It’s nothing personal, but we all know that “incidental” expenses around Christmas – including last minute gifts for co-workers, that bottle of wine you bring to your host at a party, and even postage can all add up.
Get it on paper now, and be real with your budget. If you have kids, of course, you know they want technology – video games, game systems, and computers/laptops/tablets. Can you buy them now and avoid price-gouging after Thanksgiving?
At the same time, does it make more sense to buy a “family” Christmas gift? One of our clients decided he was tired of the Christmas silliness last year, so he took the bull by the horns. He told his wife and children they would each buy one gift for each member of the family – all less than $20, and then he and his wife used the rest of their Christmas budget and took the family on a vacation.
By buying plane tickets one quarter, paying for the time share in another, and finally, allocating incidental expenses in the las quarter, there simply wasn’t any exceptional costs for a truly unique gift the entire family enjoyed.
In the end, because they had done this well in advance of the actual travel dates, they were able to secure airfare at astronomically low rates, they rented a friend’s timeshare in the mountains, and overall, they spent far less than they normally would during the holidays and created a week’s worth of memories.
I’d say that’s a pretty good return on their investment and there were no batteries required.
Now, that isn’t for everyone. Nonetheless, if you haven’t already started to put back some money for the holiday season, or even started to shop, then now is the time. Be honest here, every year, you mutter to yourself as you park your car in the mall, “Next year I’m going to state earlier.”
Make it this year!
And I say this as someone who loves the holidays – don’t take on debt to somehow validate your love to your family or your friends. If you can’t afford it, then send a card. How many times have we spent a small have we spent a small fortune on Christmas only to eat macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches all January? Stop it.
Plan now and enjoy the holidays!
If you or your clients have any tax issues or problems with the IRS/State or other federal tax problems, please feel free to contact me directly at (909) 570-1103 or by email at Carlos@HealthcareTaxadvisor.com
Carlos Samaniego, EA
Licensed by The Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers
1255 W Colton Ave, #535
Redlands, CA 92374