I have already heard both complaints and raves about the fact that stores have had Halloween displays out for a couple of weeks. Personally, I am glad to see it; I love Halloween and just autumn in general. I have even seen a few Christmas displays! Today's post on The Simple Dollar called Do You Overspend on Gifts provoked a very interesting discussion on its comments. In summary of that article, giving gifts at any time of the year, not just the holiday can cause feelings of guilt and resentment for both the giver and the receiver, especially if overspending is involved. We must remember that giving a gift is not a healthy means to signify love. There are as many different schemes to give gifts as there are types of people, and no certain way will work for everyone. I would just like to share my plan for the upcoming holidays. I have been saving for a few months in a separate account on ING Direct. I was saving $25 out of every paycheck (every 2 weeks) but will probably bump it up to $50 soon. This way I will have to wonder how I am going to buy everyone's present in a short amount of time with a limited income. I hope to have $350 to $400 by mid-November. I already have the luxury of being able to shop anytime since I have already been saving, but I will most likely wait several more weeks.
I like to buy presents for my immediate family members, some of my extended family members and 6-7 friends. I am lucky in the fact that I am really not obligated to buy a present for anyone; most people realize what my financial situation is since I am pretty open about it. Most of the time I spend $30 or less per person. I have made some homemade gifts in the past such as bath salts and jewelry, and plan to continue that this year. Last year I made homemade chocolate-covered cherries, thinking I could gift some of them and ended up eating most of them myself as they were fantastic! This will probably be the first year that I will not have to put any presents on a credit card, and that is a great feeling. With a little planning ahead and some careful bargain hunting, I should be able to have a debt-free holiday season and focus on enjoying the experiences instead of worrying how I am going to pay for them.