As the weather gets progressively cooler there’s a bit of a bite in the air, and Fall truly begins to settle in. For many of us, this means it’s time to start hauling out our cold weather gear, deciding what we’ll use and slowly layering it into our daily choices of clothes. This also means of course, that the holiday shopping season is beginning. The one rule prevailing over all is managing to keep your head above water and getting the best presents possible while doing so. Here are a few rules for treating your holiday budget like your retirement, and for making sure that you’re addressing both appropriately.
Planning is everything. It may only be September, but the holidays will sneak up more quickly than you would think. Retailers are consistently pushing their sales up earlier and earlier to get their products out the gates before their competitors. Black Friday is becoming a week-long, nationwide extended sale extravaganza. Just like planning for retirement, planning for holiday shopping is an intensive process, and it’s important to do your research, and at times, get in touch with someone in the know.
Ask. You’ll never know right off the bat what the best option is in any given situation. Whether it’s looking for different avenues of investment or trying to choose between two strong contenders for a great offering to a loved one, don’t be afraid to ask. Just make sure you’re asking the right people the right questions. Just as you’d get in touch with your financial advisor over your retirement planning and portfolio, you’ll want to get in touch with friends and family to see what they recommend for each-other, or what they’ve been talking about. Don’t let stubbornness and the risk of a ruined present stop you from getting a good one.
Make it year-round. At the end of the day, you’re rarely actually saving anything during the holiday savings crunch (http://bit.ly/SIibnA). Similar to failing to start planning for your retirement until later in the game, you’re bound to spend more money and miss out on some good opportunities. Don’t be afraid of buying gifts early, and don’t be afraid of saving early. Both will often turn out better than you could anticipate in the long run, and save you a fair bit to boot.
The most important rule for any successful holiday survival guide is: don’t panic. If you don’t make any big portfolio shifts or buy any big gifts, it won’t cause any long-term problems. Making sure you’re getting the perfect gift or appropriate retirement plan is more important in the long run than rushing things.
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