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It used to be Black Friday was the kick-off for holiday shopping, but experts are saying 2020 will be a little different. In part to make up for startling deficits created by COVID-19, many retailers say they’re starting their promotions early.

That means we’ll be knee-deep in holiday “Buy One, Get One” offers and “Limited Time Only” deals by Halloween...so here are a few tips to help you stay on the financial rails during what’s left of 2020!

First, remember that forewarned is forearmed:

  • Determine your spending limit and stick to it.
  • Plan to be done with your shopping before December 1st. This way, you can actually spend your time planning to enjoy time with family and friends!
  • Plan a day to do all of your online shopping. Have a list of which retailers you will use for which gifts.
  • Plan a day to do all of your in-person shopping. This is a day dedicated to gift shopping only! No distractions of the grocery store, or any other type of shopping.

I think it’s helpful to remember that the holidays are filled with the anticipation of what we want to feel. We see commercials that feature children in matching pajamas, opening their special gifts by the tree and being so excited (and grateful)... and we buy into that fantasy. For most of us, the reality looks more like messy-haired children, delirious from lack of sleep combined with too much sugar, who unwrap their gifts at lightning speed. It's all over in a few moments, after you may have spent hours of shopping, wrapping and spending a whole lot of money!

Maybe this is the year to scale back your spending by thinking about giving your time to someone, rather than a gift? Whatever you decide, my best advice is to have a plan and stick to it.  Nothing ruins the excitement of the new year quite like getting the "holiday hangover" credit card bills!

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