Less Time Shopping, More Time Planning
|Monday, October 17, 2016|
By Patrick McGuire, CFP CLU ChFC
We haven’t hit Halloween yet, but I have already seen Christmas decorations at Costco. When it comes to Christmas shopping, there are those of you who start early and all but avoid the malls in December and those of us who like to get things done closer to the big day. Regardless of what type of shopper you are, having a budget ahead of time will lead to a much more enjoyable shopping experience and a much less stressful bank statement in January.
Plain and simple, a budget is a plan – a plan on how and where you will spend your money. We often stress the importance of having a plan when it comes to your financial goals and it is the same when it comes to gift buying. If you have a plan, you will set yourself up for success. If you know ahead of time that you have $1,000 to spend on Christmas and 6 people to buy for, you are able to allocate a dollar amount to each individual. By knowing how much you plan on spending, you are able to maximize your dollars, optimize their gifts, and minimize the amount of time spent aimlessly walking among the masses.
A budget is an invaluable tool that helps you prioritize your spending and manage your money far beyond Christmas shopping. For some, the thought of creating a budget is painful, but the long- term benefits of having a budget in place far outweigh the short -term pain of reviewing your last 3 months’ bank statements. To make things easy on us, there are hundreds of budgeting apps available that do half the work for us. The apps help you evaluate your spending habits so that you can think about your relationship with money and where you are spending your dollars. I hope that you take the time to set yourself up for peace of mind this holiday season and beyond.