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Posts Tagged ‘holiday shopping’

Ready or not, the holiday season is right around the corner! Between black Friday, cyber Monday, and giving Tuesday, there is a lot of pressure to overspend around the holidays. Add in out-of-town visitors, shopping, travel, and overeating, and there you have the recipe for a stressful holiday season.

When we realize we have put off saving for the holidays…again, panic sets in. This panic can cause us to overspend and end up paying for the holidays, emotionally and financially, all the way through tax season.  With a little bit of pre-planning, this year can be…well… enjoyable.

September is the perfect time to decide your holiday spending goals and take some of the stress out of your holiday season. Here are 3 simple steps to help you.

  1. Determine how much you can afford to spend, without having to borrow funds.

The easiest way to determine your budget is to look at what you spent last year. Your budget should include what you will spend on gifts, wrapping, food, parties, special clothing, transportation, baking supplies and anything else you choose for a holly-jolly time. This number is a great start but remember, you can always make changes. Were you comfortable with what you spent last year? Do you want to spend a little more or less? Have your circumstances changed over the past year that impacts your cash flow? Just because it was done one way in the past does not dictate that is how it always has to be. For most of us, holidays are more about family, friends, and the joy of the season, than about who can have the biggest, brightest, most extravagant holiday.

2. Multiply your total by 25% and divide your total by three.

Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension, recommends adding a buffer of 25% to the amount you spent last year. This can help offset any cost increases and any expenses you might have forgotten from last year. According to Gallup’s survey on the 2019 spending, the average person spent $942 on holiday gifts alone. Therefore, if all holds true, then for 2020 the budget would be $1,178. Divide this total by three and that comes to saving $393 per month. When looking at your monthly income and expenses, if this amount is too much, go back and look at last year’s expenses and determine which areas you can decrease.

3. Create a holiday budget breakdown.

Don’t be tempted to overspend within your holiday budget. This can be very easily done when you look at your account balance, you don’t always recognize how much was planned for travel, food, gifts, etc. The envelope system is a good way to keep it all organized. The idea is to divide cash in separate envelopes for different budget categories and then use cash to make your purchases. The envelopes help you to visually see how much money you have left in each area.  Some find that paying for everything with cash, rather than a card, helps control spending and keep them on budget.

If you have a budgeting or financial question, OSU Extension is here to help. Go to: go.osu.edu/AskOSUExtension and ask our experts your financial question.

References:

America Saves, (ND). How to use the envelope budget system. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://americasaves.org/local-campaigns/kentucky-saves/blog/1350-how-to-use-the-envelope-budget-system

Barlage, L., (2018). Outside the Box Gift Ideas. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from   https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/12/06/outside-the-box-gift-ideas/

Barlage, L., (2019). Saving Money when Budgets are Tight. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from  https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/01/17/saving-money-when-budgets-are-tight/

Kennedy, S., (2018). De-stress your holidays with these smart spending tips. University of Florida. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/wakullaco/2018/11/27/de-stress-your-holidays-with-these-smart-spending-tips/

Ohio State Extension, (ND). Eight Easy Exercises for Financial Fitness. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/8_Easy_Financial_Fitness.pdf

Oklahoma State University, (2019). Planning now can ease financial strain of 2019 holiday season. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.okstate.edu/articles/agricultural-sciences-natural-resources/2019/holiday_budgeting.html

Saad, L., (2019). Americans plan to spend generously this Christmas. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.gallup.com/poll/267914/americans-plan-spend-generously-christmas.aspx#:~:text=Consumers%20anticipate%20spending%20an%20average,Gallup%20trending%20of%20this%20measure.

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, Scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Photos by rawpixel.com, Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash, and Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

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Have you finished your holiday shopping for the year? Or, like me, do you tend to put off shopping until the last minute because there are people on your list that are hard to gift? When lacking creative ideas for those hard-to-gift individuals, many of us default to items such as clothing, electronics and gift cards. This year, maybe it’s time to think outside the box and give gifts that promote health and self-care!

These gifts do not have to be expensive or forceful; rather, they serve as small suggestions that can go a long way toward promoting health and wellness. Consider the following scenarios:

  • Perhaps a friend has mentioned wanting to be more fit in the past, but she can’t seem to find the motivation to hit the gym. You could purchase cute and comfortable athletic outfits in her favorite colors that she might like to use!
  • Maybe your significant other can’t seem to shake his sugary soda fix because he doesn’t enjoy the taste of plain water. A good suggestion would be to buy a water bottle with a fruit infuser to encourage him to drink more water!
  • Maybe your father has been trying to control his carbohydrate intake, but he loves eating pasta multiple times a week. A vegetable spiralizer might allow him to enjoy the taste of Italian-style food with more fiber, vitamins and minerals and fewer carbohydrates and calories!

For more healthy holiday gift suggestions, see the infographic below. Don’t forget to consider gifts to promote lifelong healthy habits in the children on your list, too!

Give the Gift of Good Health this Holiday Season. Physical Activity: Equip your loved ones with the tools they need to continue their fitness journey or give them the push to start a new lifestyle. Gift ideas include resistance bands, hand weights, a yoga mat, gym bag, towel, athletic wear, socks, and water bottle with infuser. Cooking: Sleek new cooking gadgets can encourage your friends and family to experiment with new healthful cuisine. Homemade meal mixes can also be a heartfelt and economic option. Gift ideas include fresh herbs, veggie dip mix, homemade soup mix (like the friendship soup mix recipe available at https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/mix-it-up-to-expand-your-gift-giving-dollar-with-food-mixes-in-a-jar), a vegetable spiralizer, a healthy magazine subscription, recipe book or cookbook, slow cooker, or petite wine glass.

With the New Year just around the corner, these gift ideas can help keep your loved ones on track toward their potential resolutions in the upcoming year. They are just a few examples of how to give the gift of health and self-care this holiday season, a gift that keeps on giving for years to come!

 

Written by: Katie Minnelli, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Medical Dietetics

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County

Sources:

Barlage, L. (2016). Give children gifts that encourage healthy habits. Live Healthy Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/12/08/give-children-gifts-that-encourage-healthy-habits/

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2015). Healthy Gift Guide – 17 ideas for giving “the gift of health”. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/12/03/healthy-gift-guide-17-ideas-for-giving-the-gift-of-health/

Schuster, E. (2018). Give the gift of health and self-care this holiday season. Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.  https://www.sneb.org/blog/2018/11/26/general/give-the-gift-of-health-and-self-care-this-holiday-season/

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Holiday spending can put a lot of stress on you and your wallet.  In this economy, you cannot possibly give your children or grandchildren everything they want.  Instead of adding more stress to your life by having bills pile up in the New Year, this holiday season can be made special by giving more of yourself, and your time.  Think of thoughtful gifts that do not have to cost a lot in money but are truly given from the heart.

Start by making a list of all the things that you want to do for the holidays.  This may include a list of names of those you will give gifts to, holiday decorations that you want to buy, and special events that you want to attend.  Then put dollar figures beside each of these activities.  Set realistic dollar figures for each of your budget items.  Make them reasonable and affordable for you family. For example you might have a budget of $15-$20 per person for gifts, $50 for special events, and $75-$100 for decorations.

Much of our holiday spending is impulsive.  Shop with a list and stick to it.   Avoid using credit cards if possible so as not to incur debt that will haunt you in the New Year.  Take advantage of sales by shopping early in the season.  Don’t be that last minute shopper.

As an alternative to purchasing gifts, consider giving gifts of items that you already have and give gifts from your heart.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Consider giving a special piece of jewelry or glassware that a daughter or granddaughter admires.
  • A start from a plant that a friend would like to have.  Buy a pretty pot and give this new plant to your friend.
  • Do you make jams and jellies or other canned items that friends and relatives would like?  Make decorative jar toppers and give canned items as gifts.
  • Old photos that relatives would like to have.  Make copies and put into an album as a holiday gift.

Don’t think you have to break the bank to make the holidays special.  These gifts from the heart can be the most treasured gifts to receive.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

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