Some Holiday Giving and Receiving 12/3/2006


Some Holiday Giving and Receiving 12/3/2006

Stewart H. Welch III, CFP, AEP
Founder, The Welch Group, LLC

Some Holiday Giving and Receiving


“Some Holiday Giving & Receiving”


The opening weekend of the holiday season was a smashing success for retailers indicating that consumers are in the mood to open their pocketbooks to buy gifts for family and friends.  While the spirit of giving is in the air, it is also a time when many people over spend and end up with January bills they cannot pay.  As a result, they begin the New Year facing months of paying off credit card debt.  You can avoid this by following these simple steps:

  1. Review you finances.  Take a moment to review your current finances and decide how much you can afford to spend without creating any new debt.
  2. Make a list.  Make a list of everyone that you plan to give a gift.
  3. Assign dollar values.  Beside each name on your list, decide how much money you would like to spend.  Make sure that your total for everyone on your list does not exceed the total amount you have budgeted for all holiday spending.
  4. Shop from your list.  Use your list as your shopping guide.  If you overspend on one person, make sure you ‘under-spend’ on someone else.

One thing you may find is that there are more people on your shopping list than your budget will afford.  Here a few gifting ideas that won’t cost you a bundle:

  • Bake cookies.  If you are skilled in the kitchen, consider baking your gifts.  I have a friend that each year gives us a spicy cheese ball for the holidays.  It’s something we look forward to receiving and sharing with family and friends at holiday gatherings.
  • Give to charity.  Many charities provide ‘gift cards’ that, for a modest donation, you can send to family and friends indicating you have made a gift in their name.
  • Write a note.  Receiving a hand written note expressing love, appreciation and thankfulness can be one of the best gifts of all.
  • Create a photo album.  People love pictures and a photo album allows them to remember cherished events and gatherings.
  • Give a ‘time certificate’.  Draw up a certificate indicating you will help with certain chores such as taking down the holiday decorations (something I personally loathe).

With a little bit of imagination, you should be able to come up with some great ideas.  In fact, let’s have a contest.  Email me at [email protected] your ideas for inexpensive, thoughtful gifts and my colleagues and I will pick the 5 we like best and send the winners a signed copy of my book, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Rich” in time for Christmas!  This will make a great (and inexpensive) gift!  I’ll announce the winners and their ideas in my December 17th column.  When you email me, write ‘Holiday Contest’ in the subject line and include your name, mailing address and daytime phone number.