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Benefits resources: Budgeting tips for holiday spending

Dec 15, 2016

TIAA offers some helpful information for budgeting for holiday spending this year.

The holiday season is one in which consumers tend to spend a lot of money — far more than they would during any other three- or four-week period. But if you take the time to plan for those expensive shopping trips ahead of time, you'll likely find the added expenses easier to bear.

The easiest way to do this is to simply come up with shopping lists with gift ideas for all your loved ones that will work within your budget. Take a look at what you've spent in the past on gifts. Is it too much? Just right? Whatever your previous shopping budget might have been, you could end up needing to adjust it to better account for your current financial situation.

Having a rough idea of what you want to spend versus what you can afford to spend might make it easier to set a realistic goal. If you're having trouble, you might want to go through your shopping list and see if there are any people you're buying for who don't necessarily need more expensive items.

Once you have a budget in mind, you might also find it helpful to set up a separate account where you can set aside a little bit of money every month or so that will serve as your shopping fund. This will give you a firmer idea of what you're able to spend and may also help keep you from spending any money from outside that account to buy gifts.

You might also want to think about buying gifts throughout the year so that the financial burden isn't quite so difficult to bear when the holiday season rolls around, and taking advantage of sales can also be a boon during that time.

A TIAA advisor can help guide you in making informed decisions during the holiday season. Visit http://www.tiaa.org/schedulenow to meet with an advisor on campus.

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