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Plan What You'll Spend at Christmas

Christmas shopping is one of the most extreme activities of the year. Embracing both the essence of a gift-giving holiday and the over-spending associated with modern life, Christmastime is both exhilirating for the heart and harrowing for the pocket. For a more balanced Christmas simply spend some time planning a budget before you head out to the stores. Shop till you drop, but make a list first Lists are great tools, because they have the magical quality of keeping you focused. It's easy to lose focus when shopping at Christmastime, because there are so many incredible gifts out there and we really want to show our friends and family how much we love them by always buying bigger and better gifts. But at Christmastime, if you shop without tracking your spending you'll end up with a Christmas debt that won't feel very festive at all. To create your Christmas shopping list, simply begin by analyzing what income you have at your disposal. Record this amount at the top of a piece of paper. Then list the names of friends and family you'll be buying gifts for this year. Next to each name write a key-word that suggests the most suitable gift for each person, e.g. "book", "board game", "clothing". Then divide the total disposable income amongst each person and record the amount next to each name. This is the maximum amount you will spend for each gift. Remind yourself that Christmas is about giving the simple message of love, it's not about giving bigger, better and more expensive gifts. Before you walk out the door to go Christmas shopping, understand one thing: you will be seduced into spending more than you probably should. So, take a few minutes, and a few breaths, and simply remember the essence of Christmas.

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