Make a Spending Plan, and Follow that Budget

Jan Brakefield, assistant professor of consumer sciences, offers tips to follow during the holiday shopping season.

  • Make a spending plan, and stick to it.
  • Shop early, before Thanksgiving. Eliminates last-minute panic buying.
  • Be prepared each time you leave home to shop. Carry a list of who you are buying for and how much you can spend. Be specific. Get agreements from family members.
  • Pay cash. Credit card users typically spend twice as much money as others.
  • Use the “envelope method.” Prepare one envelope per person, placing money in each envelope. When the envelope is empty, you are finished buying for that person.
  • Shop when you have lots of energy.
  • Shop with a buddy, or not … a buddy may encourage you to splurge, so choose carefully.
  • Ask sales staff about upcoming discounts. They will usually tell you, but won’t offer the information unless you ask.
  • DON’T buy anything for yourself!
  • Write the size of your total consumer debt at the top of your shopping list. Reality check!

Brakefield can be reached at 205/348-8722, or