Keep holiday spending in check

  • Published
  • By Staff Report
  • Airman and Family Readiness Center
Vandenberg's Airman and Family Readiness Center offers these tips to help Airmen and their families stay within their spending budgets this holiday season.

1. Before shopping, make a list, prioritize the list and decide how much you can spend for each gift.
2. Shop early. Last-minute shoppers tend to spend more money in a rush to get their shopping done.
3. Pay with cash or debit cards. Shoppers who do spend less money, experts say.
4. Don't pay with a credit card unless you can pay the balance in full at the end of the month.
5. If you do pay with a credit card, record your purchases, check-book style, to track how much money you're spending.
6. Give cash if unsure what to buy. Cash never expires and is accepted everywhere. Gift cards may have fine print that leads to more expense.
7. Research your purchases. The most expensive isn't always the best. Use the Internet and consumer publications to learn before you buy.
8. If you get into credit trouble, shop around for credit counseling. Some companies that claim to cut credit debt have hidden costs.
9. The size or expense of the gift is not indicative of the love you feel for the recipient. Consider more personal, hand-made -- and less expensive -- ways to give. 

Gift Giving

- Give the gift of time - make a coupon for babysitting, snow shoveling, dog walking or spring yard clean-up. The possibilities are endless, so think of what would be most helpful to the person on the receiving end!

- Draw names - it's a great way to cut down the number of people you need to buy for and it is a lot of fun!

- Wrap your gifts with something different - use comics, newspapers, cloth or recycled gift bags. Let the kids make wrapping paper using plain brown craft paper and finger paints. Let your imagination run wild!

- Organize a tacky or themed gift exchange, just for fun.

For more information and tips on saving money, stop the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Building 10122 or call 606-0039.