Gifts

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Holiday Shopping: Save or Splurge

So long, Black Friday. Sayonara, Cyber Monday. It’s the thick of the holiday shopping season. If all your gifts are bought, congratulations. If not, you have plenty of company to stress about buying, wrapping and delivering gifts for the next couple of weeks. With all the holiday hustle and bustle, you’re normal budget judgement may be compromised. So you have to ask yourself, is it worth it to drop the big bucks or is it better to go the frugal route. The answer should always depend on your budget, of course, and there is usually an emotional element at play in the decision. But there is usually a better time of year to buy certain items and it doesn’t always coincide with the holiday season. TVs The door-busting deals may be gone with Black Friday, but this can still be a good time to buy a new TV. However, this…

6 Steps to a Financially Happier Holiday Season

A trip to any supermarket or department store quickly reminds you the holiday season is near. Despite still snacking on pumpkin seeds and Halloween candy, it’s still not too late to make a holiday spending plan. Investing a few hours now to craft a plan can save you time and money to help you survive the most wonderful time of the year. Here are six steps so all the spreading of holiday cheer won’t cause you financial stress in the new year. Make a Holiday Spending Map Look carefully at your budget and decide how much you can really afford to spend this holiday season. Then create a spending map that includes all of your holiday spending categories. Keep in mind the money you’ve budgeted has to pay for more than just gifts. Don’t forget things like decorations, travel expenses, tips and extra charitable giving. Although some of these expenses…

To Share or to Save? That Is the Gifting Question

Let’s assume you have or make enough money that you can afford to give it away. Talk about a good problem to have, right? In any case, what are the tax implications of that gift? Your tax benefits or consequences depend on who receives your gift, how much it is, and when it’s given. Here’s a simple way to think about it: If you want to reduce your tax burden this year, give that money to a qualifying charity. If the goal is reducing the size of your estate – and, thus, the amount that can be taxed after you die – consider giving money to family members or any individual who can use your help now. Mom and Dad, Can You Spare $5.49 Million? Americans are living longer, so planned gift-giving is increasingly popular. If you have a sizeable estate, i.e. more money than you’ll need for the rest…

5 Ways to Show your Love for Less This Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air because it’s almost Valentine’s Day. For that special someone you want to treat this year, don’t wait until the last minute. Just a little bit of planning and creativity can help make this Valentine’s Day extra memorable without breaking the bank. Did you know Americans spent close to $20 billion for Valentine’s Day last year? That’s a lot of flowers and chocolates.  Men spent almost twice as much as women, averaging close to $196 on gifts versus a $100 by women. Those between the ages of 25-34 were the most active spenders on Valentine’s Day, followed by young lovebirds aged 18-24. Flowers were the most popular purchase made by men, while women spent the most money on greeting cards and candy.[1] To help get your Valentine’s Day planning off to a great start, here are some sweet and sentimental Valentine’s gift ideas for couples at…

5 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays for Less

According to a poll released this month by Gallup, American adults are planning to spend an average of $830 on holiday gifts this year. Not only is this $110 more than last year’s projected average, but it’s also the highest on record since 2007. However, a new study by Cornell University psychology professor Tom Gilovich indicates that the best way to increase the enjoyment, satisfaction and general happiness of your loved ones during the holidays is to give them real-life experiences – not material gifts. In addition to being less expensive than a typical present, a shared experience with a loved one has a longer “shelf life” and can even help us define who we are as people. Here are five, holiday experiences you can give your family and friends that won’t cost an arm and a leg – and are sure to make everyone involved feel loved and appreciated.…

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