The Wall Street Journal posted an Article entitled 7 Smart Money Moves for the Holidays. This is information from Financial Planners across the U.S. It was very helpful and useful information to stay on budget and make smart financial choices for the holiday season. With the economy in a slump for the last couple of years it is important for me to stay in a positive attitude as part of my daily routine.

These are some great tips for everyone that can make you feel good without having to spend your cash. It is simply a different mindset which is much healthier…try it!

The First Smart Money Move is to Stick to a Budget. Jim Heitman, a financial planner in Alta Loma, California says “It’s a disaster to go out to the mall and just “shop”. Bargain shopping is easier than ever now.

The Second Smart Money Move is to Negotiate a gift truce amount adults. “Lose the guilt on how much you might not spend this year,” says Elaine Scoggins, a financial planner in Seattle. ” After all, purchasing them gifts that they don’t need or want will not help keep them organized. It will simply draw in guilt next year when they feel they have to display or use everything that they were given this year.

The Third Smart Money Move is to Focus on experiences instead of “things.” Stuff is just that…stuff. It will be put into a closet just to gather dust. Start a new tradition. Give gift certificates to dinner and a movie. What you spent a ton of money on last year isn’t worth much this year. So “take the focus off buying so many gifts, and think of a new ritual for the holiday gatherings,” says Donna Skeels Cygan, a planner in Albuquerque. “Maybe it could be spending the day baking cookies or old-fashioned cinnamon rolls, or having everyone write down a happy memory from the past year.”

The Fourth Smart Money Move is to Set up funds for the children (or grandchildren). Andrew Feldman, a financial planner in Chicago, tells parents: “When grandparents or friends and other relatives ask what to get Junior for the holidays, ask for a 529 contribution.”

We have had my parents to this when my children were younger and it works…but the kids still liked to unwrap something that they have shopped for so just set your dollar amount and stay within it. For the older children, gift cards are great – just watch out for their stipulations in order to use the gift cards. You have to do your homework.

The Fifth Smart Money Move is to Make your charitable giving more effective. Spend a little time doing some research for organizations that are legitimate and support your beliefs. Don’t just be reactive. In a tight economy you have to be careful where to give your dollars. 

The Sixth Smart Money Move is to Give cashless gifts. One of the best gifts that you can gift is something that you have taken the time to do yourself. Being a small business owner this can be difficult but you can make it into a family affair. Bake cookies, breads or holiday treats to give to your employees, friends and family. Simply put into a cute cookie tin for just a few dollars and Wala! A gift from the heart is never forgotten.

The Seventh Smart Money Move is to Be a smart shopper. It’s easy to be side-tracked by all of the sales during the holiday season. Don’t lost your discipline. Have your list in front of you at all times! Rick Kahler, a financial planner in Rapid City, S.D., says it’s particularly important to recognize the subconscious beliefs trying to push us around. After all, a dollar is a dollar at every time of the year.

For complete WSJ article, click here.