As the Christmas season arrives, financial planning professionals are recommending people stick to a budget not only for gift-giving but also all the other expenses that come at this time of year.
Nick Gertsema, CEO of Gertsema Wealth Advisors, said people need to consider all the spending increases that come in the winter.
“People need to keep in mind that whenever the end of the year rolls around there are a whole bunch of different things that come up,” Gertsema said. “You’ve got your personal property taxes, you're going to turn on the heat so now all of a sudden your heat bill is going to go up, so you need to be planning for those expenses.”
As presents, particularly desirable items, become harder to find, Gertsema said prices will reflect the demand -- at the expense of a shopper's wallet.
“You may realize that you’ve bought the things you wanted to for the people you wanted to, and then you step back and notice that now you’re in a bit of a hole,'' Gertsema said. “The best possible thing to do is to realize what budget you’re working with and stick as close as you can to it.”
While gift-giving is one of the biggest factors in increased spending over the winter season, Gertsema said the cost of extra travel also can creep up quickly on those who don’t prepare in advance.
“You may be traveling to see family, so there is extra gas, hotel rooms, flights, things of that nature,” Gertsema said. “Before you know it, you’ve driven outside of town and now you’re buying dinner for a couple family members and it all keeps adding up.”
As the season progresses into heavier spending, Gretsema said sticking to your spending plan is even more important.
“The easiest thing to do in my opinion is to make a budget, stick to it and if you know what to expect you can make the adjustments you need to make,” Gertsema said.