UF/IFAS Extension offers way to avoid post-holiday shopping ‘sticker shock’
By: Brad Buck, firstname.lastname@example.org
You want to buy those perfect gifts for your loved ones, but you want to avoid experiencing the post-holiday sticker shock when you get your credit card bills. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension faculty offer words of wisdom.
Michael Gutter, an associate dean of UF/IFAS Extension and a family financial expert, gives several tips to avoid holiday shopping pitfalls:
Make a list, and set a budget. Ask yourself: How much can you afford to spend? Prioritize gifts and sometimes even people. For example, consider spending more on your immediate family than on your extended family.
Consider a family giving circle. Buy for your own kids, then draw a name of someone from your extended family. Instead of getting gifts for all nieces, nephews, you might just buy one or two gifts.
As an aside, Gutter said: “My family and I are focusing on what gifts contribute to shared experiences, for my son and I, it is some scuba equipment because it is something we do together. In this way, it is not just a gift — something one person benefits from — but it is instead something that contributes to family experiences.”
If your friends have children of varying ages, consider toy swaps instead of buying toys, more like passing them down, and the one receiving it still has a new toy.
Avoid giving gifts with many follow-up or add-on expenses, unless you have discussed it with the parents. It can be frustrating to get something that is only really fun if you have the other accompanying items.
Brenda Williams, a family and consumer sciences agent for UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County, also offered several helpful hints for holiday shopping – and what to give at the holidays that doesn’t necessarily involve a purchase.
Use those “rewards” accumulated on credit cards to purchase gift cards, which may be offered at a reduced price.
Think of giving gifts that make use of your time. Give gift certificates for a prepared meal, wash the car, mow the lawn, rake leaves, etc.
Can you make or recycle something new? Transform neckties or knit sweaters into memory pillows, cut logos from T-shirts, stitch together and make a throw or quilt, gather pine cones and make all kinds of ornaments and table decorations accented with paint, glitter and more. Children love to be creative and can have fun making ornaments for friends and relatives.