nov-14-hdr-imgThe holiday season is just around the corner, and that means increased spending—especially when you are buying gifts for small children. Without the right budgeting tactics, you may find yourself paying for the holiday season in 2015. You can avoid these financial blues by planning ahead this year. Spend some time now preparing for these expenses so you and your family can enjoy the season with peace of mind.

Know your current financial limits

In order to avoid excessive holiday spending  and sky-high credit card bills, take some time to realistically assess the fixed cost of bills and living expenses. If you aren’t already actively budgeting, now is a great time to investigate where your money is going and take control of it.

Come up with a budget and gift list now.

Consider what you’ve spent in past years. Plan who you will buy gifts for and how much you want to spend, so you’ll know how much you’ll need. Anticipate entertainment, holiday dinners, and party expenses as well.

Include your family in the budget.

Let kids know what to expect and how much they can spend. Discuss gift policies (like spending limits) with other family members.  This is even a great opportunity to begin teaching toddlers and young children the how to budget as they “buy” gifts for grandma and grandpa or their siblings.

Don’t go overboard when shopping for infants and toddlers.

Though it is a blast to buy gifts for little ones, remember that they probably not remember or be able to adequately appreciate a huge pile of presents under the tree. Instead, focus on one or two toys you know they will enjoy and supplement those with educational toys, books etc.

Shop early.

Shopping early can save you time and money. You can take greater advantage of sales and seasonal prices. You’ll have more time to devote to finding exactly the right gift. If you wait until the last minute, you may not have the time to shop smart. If you prefer to make holiday gifts, starting early means you’ll have time to finish.

Our biggest piece of advice when shopping for little ones during the Christmas season? Focus on the reason for gifts and celebration (the birth of Christ) and making investments of time in your family. Happy holidays!