Every year, we’re confronted with enticing Black Friday deals earlier and earlier, because retailers want you to involve just one more paycheck in your holiday spending. So what we recommend at JHA — before you get crazy and start dipping into your October paychecks — is to create your spending plan for the holidays without getting carried away like so many day-old cookie platters.

As I’ve written before, most experts agree that 1.5% of your income is the right amount to spend on gifts. Gift cards are a straightforward way to spend a certain amount, but they come with conditions. Read my article on the laws about gift cards in New York and Connecticut before you buy.

Shopping online is probably the easiest way to keep track of how much you’ve spent on each person. With all the negative news about Amazon, I hesitate to endorse them — but their gift delivery game is on point. Of course the ease of online shopping is a double-edged sword since it quite effectively enables binge shopping.

There are all sorts of methods for helping you not binge while making your way through your list. From leaving the house with only one card, to freezing your cards in a block of ice and putting a padlock on your freezer. I know someone who deleted all the current payment methods and then removed the password manager for Amazon — just to make it a little harder to buy stuff. No judgment!

Throughout the year life sends us curve balls in the form of plumbing issues, tax adjustments, pandemics, etc — things that interrupt our goals. We all know the feeling of constantly recovering from some financial injury. That’s why it’s so important not to continue the cycle of starting the new year in new debt. 

If you need help coming up with your holiday spending plan, or need help physically buying the gifts, contact us.