Monday, November 7, 2016

Holding the Reins on Holiday Spending by Jean C. Gordon

When do you start your holiday shopping, and how carefully do you plan? 

Personally, I don’t holiday shop until after Black Friday, but I know many people like to start earlier. And for people who like to shop — I don’t — it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of holiday cheer and spend a lot more money than you intended. But the whirlwind of bills that may come due in January should be enough to convince you to create — and stick to — a holiday spending plan.

Start with a List

Impulse buying can quickly derail your finances. Before you begin your holiday shopping, make a list of everyone you buy gifts for. Then set a separate spending limit for each person based on the total amount you can reasonably afford to spend. When it comes to buying for kids in the family, I like to check with them and their parents so I can choose something in my price range that they want and aren’t already going to get. Once you’ve reached the spending limit you’ve set, stop buying.

Control Credit Cards

Bringing multiple credit cards with you to the mall may tempt you to overspend. It’s probably best to leave them at home. If you want charge purchases to get rewards or discounts, keep track of what you’ve charged by writing down the amount of each purchase. Make sure you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance when your statement arrives.

Comparison Shop

Newspaper flyers can help you compare your gift list with what’s on sale at local stores. Always check out prices of big-ticket items at several places before you buy. An online search can save time, gas, and money, even if you eventually buy the item in the store. If you do buy online, look for perks such as free shipping and gift wrapping.

Consider Gift Destinations

If you’re mailing gifts, choose items that are small, lightweight, and easy to pack. Remember to send packages early to avoid having to pay extra for rush delivery.

Books Are a Bargain

Where else can you buy someone hours of entertainment for less than $10? For the romance readers on your list or to treat yourself, here are three 99¢ deals that are easy to fit in anyone’s holiday shopping budget.

Bridget O’Brien lost her fiancé to a dangerous job. And, while she’d love to have a relationship like the one she lost, the last thing she wants is one with another man who willingly puts his life in danger. Luke Foster is a motocross racer whose track record with women runs short and no-strings-attached on both sides. He’d never seriously pursue a forever-after woman like Bridget.

All they want is a holiday week away. Bridget from her well-meaning family’s condolences about her planned Christmas Eve wedding and her memories of a future that won’t be. Luke from his family’s annual critique at which he and his life choices always fall short of expectations.

But, under the blue Caribbean skies, anything can happen. 

A Team Macachek Novella: Meet the strong women and fearless men of the motocross circuit.

Buy: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo

Team Macachek Book One — 99¢ through November 14
Physical therapist Dana VanAlstyne’s dreams of a family were lost in the dust of a motocross racecourse. Although she’s filled her life with her work and church activities, it hasn’t filled the empty space inside her. Nor has it eased the heartache of being abandoned by a man who wasn’t ready for a wife and children. Now her dream is to open her own private practice. All she needs is the capital to make that happen.

Anton, “Mac,” Macachek may be the top professional motocross racer in the country but he still has one race that matters more to him: winning a championship at Unadilla Raceway and showing the hometown folks the bad boy did amount to something. But when a horrific accident sidelines those plans, he makes a deal with the woman he once loved with all his heart. A woman who abandoned him. If Dana will get him back in racing shape, he’ll fund her new practice. Then an even more dangerous risk is revealed. If Mac races again, he could die.

Does Dana have enough faith to risk her heart again? She loved Mac once, but feared he loved motocross racing more than he loved her. If she helps him mend his broken body, will it also mend her broken heart? Or will it all be lost again in the dust and danger of a motocross racetrack?

Buy: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo. Also available in paperback on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.

And if you haven’t bought your copy of Sweet Romance Christmas 3, scroll up and click on the cover picture in the right-hand column.

For Amazon bestselling sweet and inspirational author Jean C. Gordon, writing is a natural extension of her love of reading. From that day in first grade when she realized t-h-e was the word the, she’s been reading everything she can put her hands on. Jean and her college-sweetheart husband share a 175-year-old farmhouse in Upstate New York—where she sets her books—with their daughter and her family. Their son lives nearby. Connect with Jean on Facebook, as @JeanCGordon on Twitter, or on, where you can sign up for her newsletter and receive a free eBook.


  1. As the holidays approach, these are great tips, Jean. I'm an online shopper, and usually find great deals. Plus, I can take my time.

  2. I shop almost exclusively online any more. And I'm nearly done. Don't have many to shop for. I do gift cards for out of state. Good post, Jean!

  3. Great tips! I don't do much shopping because hubby and I don't buy for each other, and my kids rarely give me any suggestions. Sometimes we just give to a charity in their names. The big gifts are for the granddaughters and even then, their parents often nix too many toys because they already have a too much stuff.