7 Money Saving Tools you need before you go holiday shopping! Tool #1

Welcome to the first Issue of Financial Freedom Press, the news source published by The Restoration Station and sponsored by MT Austin and Associates, your accounting solution!

This past Thursday we broadcast live from The Restoration Station and recorded a video of the 7 Money Saving Tools you need BEFORE you go out holiday shopping, along with a Bonus video with tip on how to give a gift that is also tax-deductible. For those who were unable to come into the station, there’s still time to get your ticket! The Restoration Station is here to help place you on the right track to financial freedom. I touched on the 7 tools in the video, and will discuss them in more detail here each day of the week. Please visit our Restoration Station Facebook Page to “like” and get notifications of our live broadcasts every Thursday at 11:30am, EST. We offer FREE tools to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!

TOOL #1Don’t leave home without your holiday shopping budget

Placeholder Image    No one loves the word “budget”, but it will be your lifesaver and is a valuable tool to have before you head out the door to purchase gifts for your loved ones. The holidays can be stressful and we can all be easily tempted to buy an item just because it is on sale or is a flashy purchase that you know will appease your loved one. In the midst of the excitement, we rarely stop to ask “is this in my budget, or will it put me over budget?”. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to complete a simple Holiday Budget will ease your stress and assure that you do not overspend and end up regretting your purchases after the holiday adrenaline wears off. For your convenience, I’ve created a simple Holiday Shopping Budget in Excel that you can download to your phone, iPad or laptop to fill out or download the Holiday Shopping Budget PDF to print and fill out by hand to carry with you while you shop.

The budget allows room for you to list the name of your friend or family member, a description of the gift you plan to purchase and the amount you have budgeted to spend on the gift for the individual. Once you’ve listed every person on your shopping list, the total budget amount should NOT exceed the amount that you have set aside from your savings for gifts. If the total amount exceeds the amount that you have planned to spend, you should go back through your list and figure out where you can reduce an individual’s budgeted amount by either changing the type of gift they will receive (i.e. giving a bottle of wine to your Aunt instead of a silk blouse), or eliminating the person from the list altogether.

Once you’ve purchased the item, it’s important to return to the budget to fill in the amount that you actually spent on that person’s gift. This step is crucial in understanding how budgets work and helping you identify where you have saved money so that you can possibly add the savings from one person’s gift to the budget of another. I like to reward myself if I end up spending less than budgeted with a small gift or other reward equal to the total amount that I saved! The next columns are for keeping track of what was purchased (so that you remember what gift goes to which friend) as well keeping track of the items you still need to wrap and deliver to the recipients.

This budget is a very simple tool that you can use over and over again. Each year I also give my two children a budget that they can complete for their aunts and cousins. I give them a total budget and they split the list and shop for items for their close relatives. It teaches them financial literacy at a young age and shortens my holiday shopping list!

I hope you have found this tool useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback about how the budget worked for you. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the next six tools and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and our weekly live broadcasts with valuable tools and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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