By Florida CFO Jeff Atwater
As we approach the season of Thanksgiving and the time of year when families gather in celebration of their faith, it is easy to become distracted from the true meaning of these holidays and get caught up in the extra financial responsibilities that come with making travel arrangements, hosting parties and buying gifts for friends and family. A great way to overcome these distractions and have the freedom to focus on the true spirit of the holidays is to make a holiday budget.
Waiting until the last minute to make travel arrangements or do your holiday shopping often results in making impulse purchases and paying higher prices. Creating a budget can help avoid those unnecessary costs. To create a budget, evaluate your primary spending needs such as gifts, entertaining, meals and travel, and estimate how much you can afford.
Being creative during the holiday season is also a great way to save money and give interesting gifts. Store-bought gifts can be great, but when you make a gift for someone they will truly appreciate your time and effort. Donating time and items you no longer use to the less fortunate is also a great option for the holiday (or any) season, and it's an experience that you and your family can do together.
For more holiday budgeting tips, please visit my Holiday Budgeting page. Here you will find resources such as a Holiday Budget Calculator, Holiday Travel Planner, Holiday Entertainment Planner, as well as additional creative and budget-friendly websites.