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For many of us, autumn is filled with outdoor activities, spending time with extended family, and the start of an expensive holiday season.  Before you hit the mall on Black Friday or make your online purchases on Cyber Monday, consider these tips for getting the most out of your holidays while minimizing your expenses.

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Holiday Spending Tips

1)      Setting a Budget

Before the holidays begin, consider creating a list of everyone for whom you would like to buy a gift and then assign a dollar amount as a target for each person.  Make sure that the total value of all of those gifts is within your means.  If not, you may need to reduce your spending or reduce the number of people on your list.

When you are buying gifts, don’t spend based on the recipient’s budget.  You may have friends or family members who have higher incomes and/or who don’t have children.  Your spending should be based on your abilities not of those around you.

2)      Use Technology

If you’re shopping online, do a quick coupon code search or check a store’s Facebook or Twitter pages for promotions.  There are also apps that allow you to scan barcodes to see if other stores nearby have the same item for less.

3)      Types of Gifts

Gift cards may seem impersonal, but they allow for the receiver to get exactly what s/he wants and it allows you to keep to your budget.  Buying a gift card means that you won’t have to worry about taxes or spending a few extra dollars here and there, because that will add up.

If you prefer something more personal, you can spend time with your relatives rather than giving expensive gifts.  Most parents and grandparents get more enjoyment out of time with their family then they do accumulating more stuff.

An idea for your office, family, or a group of friends is to start a Secret Santa tradition.  Everyone draws the name of someone else in the group and buys a gift for that person.  Utilizing a predetermined maximum price for the gift allows gifting to be fun and affordable for everyone.

4)      Parties and Dining Out

Of course, the holidays aren’t complete without parties.  You may host a party or holiday dinner or attend one.  Either way, make sure to keep an eye on your budget.

Friends usually ask if they can bring something to your party so don’t be shy.  Ask friends to bring their favorite dessert or ask if they can bring an appetizer or drinks.  Your friends will be happy to help and it can save you time shopping, time preparing, and money.

If you’re one to bring a gift or food to a friend’s holiday party, you may want to limit the amount of parties you attend or reduce the value of your gifts to stay within your budget.

Because the holidays often involve travel, I have found that people usually eat out more in November and December than they do in other months.  Make sure to plan your meals in advance of heading to the mall or visiting your family.  If you can’t eat at home before or after your travel, consider taking some food with you.  At the very least, create a plan and budget for the restaurant of your choosing.  Holiday travel is stressful and people tend to eat and spend more when they’re stressed.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed and not something that causes significant stress.  They definitely shouldn’t cause you to panic when you see your credit card bill in January.  By planning ahead, you’re more likely to get the most out of the holidays.

The opinions voiced in this material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice to any individual.  This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.



Congratulations, Debbie!

This past month, Debbie passed her securities licensing exam.  Great job, Debbie!  Up next is her Maryland life insurance test…wish her luck.

Monday, November 13th

Woody will be out of the office.

Thursday, November 23rd & Friday, November 24th

Our office and US markets will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd for Thanksgiving.  Although the US markets will be open for a partial day on Friday, November, 24th, our office will be closed.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!

Just a Reminder

We are always accepting donations for the local animal shelters – toys, tennis balls, collars, leashes, food, cat litter, cardboard trays, office supplies, cleaning supplies, towels, mats, washcloths, etc. We will accept donations Monday-Friday between 9am & 5pm.


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Riding Piggy


Happy birthday, Heidi!  While Fall is a busy time for birthdays and anniversaries in our family, October is all about Heidi.  We took a quick trip to DC to visit with some of Heidi’s family the weekend after her birthday.  It was great seeing everyone and Elise had a blast on her first Ferris Wheel ride, going on a carousel, and climbing animal “statues.”

Elise is at an age when the excitement of holidays begins to sink in.  As we were walking through our neighborhood and talking about our neighbors’ holiday decorations, she asked if we could decorate our house with spiders for Halloween.  When I brought home spiders, webbing, a snake, a bat, and other Halloween items, she gave me a huge hug and went to town decorating.  She even decided to use some of the extra supplies to make gifts for her friends at school.  Elise will likely do more handing out of candy than receiving this year, and she’s sure to have a great time sharing with all of the other kids.


I hope you enjoyed this month’s newsletter.

Best Wishes,


Woody Derricks, CFP®, ADPA®



CA Insurance License #0C40217

Available by Appointment in Alexandria & DC

As a Registered Investment Advisor, Partnership Wealth Management is committed to providing our clients with financial planning and wealth management services to help them make the most of their investments. At Partnership Wealth Management, we have a long history of working with the LGBT community. Among the many services we offer are financial planning and estate planning strategies for gay and lesbian couples. Financial planning is an important part of preparing for the future; contact us today to get started.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification mark CFP® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.