Ask the Patch Pro: Local Experts Answer Your Holiday Budgeting Questions

Our panel of experts are waiting in the comments to answer your questions about shopping and maintaining a budget during the holidays in the latest installment of Ask the Patch Pro.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions. Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions.

This week we're talking about sticking to a budget for the holiday shopping season. Patch wants to help find the answers to all your questions about wise holiday spending, but we needed a little help. 

We've compiled a team of experts to help us out. Meet the experts:

  • Jerri Stroud: Editor, Better Business Bureau 
  • Anna Boulware: Professor of Accounting at St. Charles Community College and SCC's Program Coordinator of the Business Administration Department
gonzales9@cs.com December 13, 2012 at 02:51 PM
How can I afford a trip to Cancun during the Christmas holidays for a family of 8?
gonzales9@cs.com December 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM
How can I afford a trip to Cancun during the holidays for a family of 8 on $1000?
Anna Boulware December 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Hi. Here is a link that has a pretty great deal on a vacation package in Mexico-for four people, four nights but, you are on your own for airfare. Buy two of the packages for under $700...check it out. (You would have to go after January 5 though...Hey, what a great christmas present! (Better yet, why not leave the kids and just you and your wife go...Now, that sounds like a great vacation!) Two links attached. One is for the general website that has awesome travel deals and the other is for the specific vacation referred to above. Good luck! http://www.livingsocial.com/escapes/532902-puerto-vallarta-resort http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/859-st-charles-county/escapes
Monika G December 13, 2012 at 04:52 PM
How much is appropriate to spend on teenage children at Christmas time?
Jerri Stroud December 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
There is no set amount you should spend on teenagers. It depends on your circumstances - income, expenses, family precedents. Talk with other family members and arrive at an amount everyone is comfortable with. Remember: It's not the amount spent but the thought behind the gift that's important.
Jordan Lanham December 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I have three siblings and we've discussed drawing names at Christmas time so we don't have to spend so much. The idea always ends up getting tossed out because some of us feel it becomes impersonal/ just exchanging money. What are some other creative ways to make sure you have something thoughtful for everyone on your list in a big family?
Patti Agnew December 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
One year my family drew names and instead of a gift you had to write down 3 things you would like to do for an outing, fave restaurants, sport etc. The person who picked you had to plan a "date" with the person, just the 2 of you. Set a specific date and time so it does not get forgotten or "put off"
Jordan Lanham December 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
What a neat idea! Thanks for sharing Patti! :)
Jerri Stroud December 13, 2012 at 09:59 PM
That's a great idea, Patti!
Jerri Stroud December 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
You could offer a service to each other - taking turns visiting an elderly relative, for example, or cooking a meal, an hour of baby-sitting or something like what Patti suggested below.
Jordan Lanham December 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Thank you for the suggestion Jerri! My family would probably laugh if I offered to cook for them, but doing something nice to help a family member is a great idea! :)
Just Saying December 14, 2012 at 03:21 AM
As three adult siblings with adult children, their spouses, kids and grandkids, it was impossible to continue to get together and give nice gifts to everyone, even drawing names for the younger ones and doing gift exchanges was not within everyones reach. Our family holiday gathering starts with plenty of food and laughs and continues on to our gift exchange, now is made up of many, many assorted "Rob your Neighbor" gifts and at least one loud hour of knock down, drag out fun! Everyone loves it and at the end, no one goes away empty handed! Just full of food, fun and happy memories!
Jordan Lanham December 14, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Another great idea! Thanks for sharing!
Bette J Glynn December 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
All great ideas!!


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