ABC's of Holiday Planning

Dec. 4, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga-(WXTX)-Shopping, spending, it's all part of the season. But once it's over, you're left with a holiday hangover that's quite costly.

That's why experts at Consumer Credit Counseling Service Of West Georgia/East Alabama have come up with the ABC's of Holiday Planning.

A--Analyze what needs to be purchased:

Complete a spending plan with estimates for each person

Start thinking of appropriate gifts and begin saving your money

Don't forget to budget for decorations, wrapping paper & holiday meals

B--Budget before you go shopping:

Evaluate the amount of money available to spend

Set aside the time to shop

Limit unplanned purchases

C--Compare prices and quality:

Be cautious of "buy now, pay later" offers

Comparison shop online and off

Director Lisa Scrivner says in the end, cash strapped consumers may be forced to focus on the holiday's true meaning, instead of the material.

"Really, young children just want to go see the Christmas tree lit up downtown or they want to go see Santa arrive and those types of things, and just being with family can be more important than the stuff."

Scrivner says other low cost holiday ideas include:

  • Have everyone agree on price limits
  • Have a family gift lottery - each family member draws one name & buys one gift
  • Give gift certificates or coupons for your time and personal services
  • Give one gift to each household
  • Give personal gifts: arts, crafts, food or letters and phone calls
  • Instead of things, consider a family event
  • If you plan to fill stockings or bags for the children, try putting a few pieces of fruit in the bottom