We all want our friends and family to have a holly, jolly, Christmas. So when it comes time to purchase gifts for them, the pressure to get them something amazing can be intense (and costly).

Keep yourself from getting a little too carried away with the holiday spirit by sticking to our Christmas 2017 budgeting guide:

  1. Be realistic about how much you’re going to spend. We would all love to get our parents a new car or lavish piece of jewelry, but that’s just not realistic. And honestly, most people don’t want such over-the-top gifts.
  2. Stick to your budget. Once you’ve decided how much you’re going to spend on gifts, stick to it!
  3. Comparison shop. Don’t be too quick to buy the first thing you see. Especially when it comes to electronics and big ticket items, shop around first and look for the best deal.
  4. Keep a detailed list of what you’re spending. If you’ll be doing your shopping over the course of a few weeks, keep a running log of how much you’re spending. Visit it every few days to make sure you’re not spending too much on one person or in general.
  5. Encourage friends to participate in “Secret Santa” gift swaps. Gift-giving games like “Secret Santa” will save you from having to buy every one of your friends a gift. Instead, put everyone’s name into a hat and pick one person to give a gift to.
  6. Use cash instead of credit. The beauty of cold hard cash is that you can’t spend it if you don’t have it. If you rely on credit cards too much, you may be in for a bad surprise come January.
  7. Remember the true meaning of Christmas. Gift giving is about showing someone you appreciate them. It’s not about spending as much as possible or trying to outshine someone else.
  8. Ask guests to pitch-in for holiday parties. Gifts aren’t the only place your holiday budget will go to this season, you also have to consider holiday parties. And if you’re the one hosting, your food and drink bill can skyrocket during this time of the year. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with asking guests to contribute a dish — if anything, they probably want to help.

Debra Solomon is a professional life coach for adults on the autism spectrum. To inquire about details, including fees and scheduling, please contact Debra Solomon at [email protected] or at 516-510-7637. Or complete a brief form so we may contact you.