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Holiday shopping without breaking the budget


is back with us As always, good to see you

Scott: Good to see you too, Mark Mark: Budgeting for the holidays this time of year People still out and about getting those perfect presents for the ones they love But it can be tricky Let's start with the steps for putting a good budget together

And the first thing to do is maybe pump the brakes, right? Scott: Yeah, absolutely Now is a great time to take that final last look at your household budget for the year Figure out how much money you actually do have to spend on the holiday season coming up Figure out what expenses have gone over and what have gone under this past year so you can get an idea as to how much you have to spend Mark: All right

Once you have a handle on what money is available, how do we put a good budget together? What are the steps? Scott: Start to take a look at your Christmas shopping plans and those people that you need to buy for, certainly making sure that you have money set aside for folks that are important to you, and sort of making a – what I will refer to as a spending limit on each individual Select a gift and the concept of how much you're going to spend on those Mark: Probably a good idea to set some expectations and keep in mind some of the costs that maybe don't come to mind naturally Scott: Yeah, really important, setting expectations of family members and friends Certainly the little ones you want to make sure that you set the expectation properly for what you can afford this Christmas

And then certainly don't want to forget about those unexpected consequences, or unexpected expenses that come up during the holiday season – postage for Christmas cards, things like traveling expenses that you may incur, or shipping expenses that may be incurred Mark: We know they add up So here's the question, cash or card, how do we go about this? Scott: Well, this is an interesting one because you want to go a little bit old school here and have that cash in the envelope to keep track as to how much we're spending But certainly with as much online shopping that's done today, we want to take a look at our debit cards and our credit cards to make sure that we're using those appropriately to monitor what we're spending Again, go back to that Christmas budget to make sure that you're limiting what you're actually spending

Mark: So the next piece of advice is stick to the plan cause it, it's easy to deviate once you get out the door and start looking at things Scott: It certainly is And what you want to make sure you do is check that – what I'll call shopper anxiety – when you get to the store door and making sure that you're not over purchasing Mark: All right A final thought here, and this kind of goes hand in hand with a lot of the things we talk about in this segment – keep good records of what you've done, right

It really can be helpful Scott: Yeah It really can be, certainly from a standpoint of making sure that you have the receipts available, not only your receipts to monitor what you've spent, to check your credit cards as well when those bills come in, but also for returns potentially, and then ultimately saving them for the subsequent years so that you can take a look next year as to how much you spent this year to make sure you're planning appropriately Mark: All great advice, Scott Appreciate it

Thank you Scott: Thank you Mark: The plan for a good shopping holiday season or right there for you If you missed any of our conversation, as always for sharing it online at RochesterFirstcom


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