BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. QUESTION: “I get very stressed during the holidays because of money. I want my children to have all the things I didn’t have growing up. Unfortunately, this sometimes put me into a financial bind. What should I consider when spending for the holidays?"
JOHN HALTERMAN: Well Anne, growing up with modest means myself, I mean, I understand, who doesn't want more for their children? I mean, it's very emotional because you love seeing the smile on children's faces, but a couple things it boils down to with spending, no matter what it is, it always boils down to emotions and budget, and the first thing I tell people is, you know, number one, let's establish what your budget is, whether that’s a percentage of your income or a dollar amount, you got to know what your intentions are, the second thing, you got to make a list, I mean, do a little planning, because a lot of times, people do things impulsively, and if you plan ahead, and start making a list, let's say back in July, to say "these are some things I might want to get this person," the next thing, the third thing, research. You know, I tell people, when you go to the store, it looks cool at the time, but get online, research, you know, where you think deals are going to be, take advantage of certain specials, you know, really do your research. The next thing, number four, get a little creative, because a lot of times we think we have to get the biggest and best, especially with electronics, but it doesn't always have to be that way. There's a lot of cool things, that have a huge impact, and you don't have to spend as much money, and then of course, you know what I tell a person is, that you know, when you're out there, don't get caught up, in the hype of sales, because like Black Friday, we all think that Black Friday is the greatest deals ever, and no doubt about it, sometimes it is good deals, but other times, they’re just putting out their cheap stuff to attract you and get you in to buy other things, so I think if you take all of those things into consideration, Anne, you'll do fantastic this Christmas season.