Holiday Spending Tips
Shopping holiday sales online or in-store is exhilarating to some and dreaded by others. Retailers know that both types of shoppers will be strolling the aisles and browsing the pages of their websites. You can shop smart this season by following these tips to keep more money in your account while still experiencing the joys the season has to bring.
Make a List. Your holiday list should include more than gifts. Are relatives staying at your home this season instead of a hotel? This could mean a substantial uptick to your grocery budget that only considered the holiday meal. Include extra toiletries, bedding, and special items that will make your guests feel comfortable.
Think about all purchases that create a memorable holiday experience. A good place to start is to consider what you wish you had on hand last year at this time. Add these items to your list.
Plan ahead to avoid impulse buys. When you have a list you also reduce the chance of double purchases which can add up quickly. A double purchase occurs when you buy an item you already have at home.
Create a Budget. Assign a dollar amount to each person on your list and stick to it. Track all of your spending in real-time to reduce the risk of overspending this holiday season. Save money by using your list and your budget to guide your purchase decisions.
Get Creative. Not every gift must be store bought. Consider giving the gift of service or time to a family member. For example, you can create a pack of ten paper certificates to give to your pre-teen. Each certificate could be redeemable for extra video game time, a specialty themed sleepover or transferring chore responsibility for one week.
Shop Smart. Don’t waste gas driving around looking for the best deal. A sale might not be worth it if it takes four trips to save an extra 10%.
The One-Two Gift Giving Punch
Americans give to charitable organizations more during the holidays than other times of the year. In the spirit of the holiday season, make your donation meaningful not only to the organization but to someone close to your heart. Do you have an animal foster mom or dad on your list? Donate on their behalf to the animal shelter they support.
Shop Early. Avoid making last minute gift buying decisions due to time constraints or shopping fatigue. If you’re low on funds and running out of time, buying a low denomination specialty gift card can take the pressure off your holiday budget. A plastic gift can be meaningful if it supports a known hobby or interest.
Get A Jumpstart on Next Year. Plan now for next year’s holiday shopping experience. You can avoid holiday debt by saving a small amount throughout the year. Open a Holiday Club Account and make deposits any time. Funds are available the first week of November so there will be plenty of time to shop Black Friday, Cyber Monday and after-holiday sales for deals on next year’s gifts and decorations.