Christmas Giving That Gives In Economic Hard Times
by Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr. G. and a
member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors
- It is best to pay for Christmas without using credit.
This can be accomplished by using Christmas clubs, change in
a bottle, or buying gifts little-by-little during the year.
This will avoid the "December demand" on your finances. A
couple in my office recently told me they "did not spend one
red cent for Christmas; they put it on the credit cards!"
Unfortunately, this is not an unusual perspective for
- If you do use credit cards, pay off the balance at the
end of the month. A $1000 Christmas charged on credit cards
and paid off at monthly minimum payments will take you eight
years and $900 interest to pay off. That means that little
Katie's kindergarten Christmas will be paid off as she
graduates from eighth grade! Not a good practice!
- Determine in advance what you can actually afford to
spend for Christmas. Come up with a dollar amount and stick
to it! Impulse buying usually results in spending more than
we should. A certain gift may be "just perfect" for your
friend but that does not mean you can afford to buy it.
- Buy a few generic gifts in bulk that can be divided and
given to male or female. Decorative candles, for instance,
can be divided, individually wrapped, and given to separate
- Remember that Christmas "shopping" is not necessarily
synonomous with Christmas "giving". Some of the most
appreciated gifts are those in which you give of your time
and talents. Things like cookies, candies, free babysitting,
or even backrubs make excellent Christmas gifts.
- Don't buy yourself a Christmas gift! Someone calculated
that last year 69% of Americans bought themselves a gift.
Focus on Christmas giving, not Christmas receiving.
- Give a special gift to a needy individual, family, or
organization. It does our hearts good to occasionally give
anonymous gifts to those who can never repay us.
- Invite an away-from-home college student to your home
for the holiday.
- Send a special Christmas "care package" to a deployed
- Remember Whose birthday we are celebrating at Christmas.
Some families bake a special birthday cake for Jesus as a
reminder of "the reason for the Season" to their kids and
Copyright ' 2009. Jim Garnett
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Please mention you heard about Ask Mr. G through the ICFE.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
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