Despite a shaky economy, a survey by Accenture finds that 20 percent of shoppers plan to spend more on gifts this year versus 14 percent of consumers last year. If you are feeling pressure to join this gift-buying herd, take heed to Suze Orman's holiday action plan before you shop.
"In January we start saving money, getting out of credit card debt, funding our retirement accounts and we're doing wonderful," Orman said. "Then, every single year like clockwork, starting in November, all of you fall into this trap that says, 'I have to buy this gift ... I can't show up at this party and not have something for everybody.'"
To give without regret for the financial goals you have worked so hard toward all year, follow these steps.
Holiday Action Plan:
1. Decide how much money you can afford to give in total.
2. Then make a list of the number of people for whom you plan to buy a gift.
3. Divide your total budget amount by the number of people on your list.
4. Accept this as the maximum amount you can spend on each person.
5. Ask the people on your list to write down five items in your price range.
As Orman points out, people don't want most of the gifts that they receive. By following this action plan, "they will have things they really want," Orman said. "You are giving them an item they want and you are spending an amount you can afford to spend."
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