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7 Smart Money Tips for the Holidays

The Wall Street Journal recently had a good article with Seven Smart Money Tips to get the most for your holiday bucks. Some of the tips relate to estate planning.

Tip #1 – Set a gift budget
Rather than just go blindly to the mall and start buying, set a budget as to what you can afford and stick to it.

Tip #2 – Cut down on the gifts for adults
The holidays are special for kids so negotiate a truce on the gifts or gift limit for the adults. Many families draw names to reduce the amount of money being spent in these hard economic times.

Tip #3 – Focus on experiences rather than “things”

Psychologists say that experiences stick out in people’s minds rather than “things.” Maybe a gift to a sporting event, a spa treatment, tennis lesson, or a cooking class would be appreciated more than the latest gadget.

Tip #4 – Set up funds for the grandchildren
If you follow this blog, you have probably read about the gifts you can give during the calendar year to as many people as you want. How about setting up a 529 tax-sheltered college savings plan for your grandchildren? The babies and toddlers won’t know the difference and their cash-strapped parents may really like the idea given the rising cost of a college education.

Tip#5 – Make your charitable giving more effective
You can make a gift to charity in the name of someone else. Perhaps a dog lover would appreciate a gift in their name to the humane society or some other charity that benefits pets.

Tip#6 – Give gifts other than cash

You can be creative on this one. The obvious cashless gifts are food such as cookies, jam, and baked goods. How about a gift certificate to babysit a young couple’s kids for a night out or making mom breakfast in bed or doing chores for grandma for a week such as dishwashing, cleaning the house, or racking the leaves. Paying for your child to create an estate plan would be a great gift!

Tip #7 – Be a smart shopper
This tip relates to using your common sense in your holiday shopping. Try to buy things on sale. Book flights far enough in advance to take advantage of lower prices. Go online and see where the best deals are.

The attorneys at Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation wish you a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to helping you with your estate planning needs in the New Year.

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