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Holiday Budget and Spending Tips

Keep Your Holiday Finances Merry!

Holiday Gifts

With consumers poised to spend an average of $998 on gifts, food, and décor this Holiday Season, it's a great time to review budget and spending strategies that can help you make the most of your money, so you don't end up with a post-holiday "hangover."   

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Create a Holiday Budget

There's a reason Santa makes a list and checks it twice! Having a plan for spending can alleviate stress and help you avoid unnecessary purchases:  

  • Set spending limits and create a budget
    • Make a gift list and set limits for each recipient
    • Factor in "extra" expenses like postage, gift wrap, travel, decorations, family dinners, etc. 
    • Track your spending:
    • Stick to your budget! You may need to cut your gift list down if your budget can't support it
    • If you plan to purchase a big ticket item and need extra funding, make sure you shop for a low interest rate and a monthly repayment amount that fits into your budget. Check out our Holiday Loan offer and see if it may be right for you!
    • Have a plan to repay debt if needed:
  • Start planning for next year!

 

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Shop Strategically 

It can be easy to get become overwhelmed when holiday shopping! This can lead to extra stress and potential overspending. For a merrier experience try some of these tips:  

  • Look for sales and comparison shop
  • Use price matching when available
  • Shop early and break it up:
    • With many retailers predicting product shortages and shipping delays this year, plan ahead and snag deals when you find them
    • Avoid long sprees or all day "browsing" which can lead to impulse spending
    • Group your shopping trips. Visit a few stores in the same area to minimize driving
  • Go online
  • Maximize rewards
    • This can be a good time to cash in all of those reward points you have been racking up throughout the year
    • It can also be a good time to earn points, so when you shop, use a credit card that offers rewards, great rates, and other benefits; like our Member Reward Credit Card

 

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Be Creative 

Great gifts don't have to cost a fortune. Consider your recipients' interests, hobbies, and lifestyle to help you pick the perfect present!  

  • Share your talents! If you're good at something like; knitting, woodworking, or painting, try making a keepsake that your recipient will remember
  • Think outside of the box
    • The internet is full of creative gift ideas that you can make or pull together for a little effort, but not a lot of money - start scrolling for inspiration
  • Consider giving an experience, for example:
    • Plan a memorable hike and a picnic or a trip to a museum
    • Create a scavenger hunt with small gifts and clues along the way
  • Get sentimental
    • Create a photo album or make a memory jar
  • Curate unique handmade items from local craft fairs or sites like Etsy 

 

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Plan Your Holiday Meals 

Sharing a meal with friends and family is one of the joys of the season! Utilize a few of these money savings ideas to help plan your gatherings: 

  • Let friends and family show off their best dishes! Have them bring something, but make sure you know what everyone is planning to avoid duplicates
  • Don't get carried away with elaborate centerpieces that can add big money to the budget.
    • Look for items that can pull double duty, borrow ornaments from the tree or mantel to enhance your table
  • Save at the grocery store

 

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Shop and Give Securely

The busy Holiday Season brings a flurry of activity, and criminals are ready to capitalize on it. Take a few precautions to protect your finances from Grinches: 

  • Only do business with trusted vendors and websites
    • Look for https:// or locked symbol in the URL bar
  • Beware of deals that are too good to be true
  • Pay with credit cards over debit cards as many credit cards offer bonuses like rewards, purchase protections, or extended warranties
  • Pay with your phone: tools like Apple Pay can make paying a bit safer since the merchant never collects your credit card numbers
  • Use tools like Visa® Purchase Alerts and two factor authentication
  • Be aware of your surroundings when you pay
    • Check for shoulder surfers or people who could be taking pictures of your card
  • Stay ahead of cybercriminals by following these cybersecurity tips
  • Give with your heart, but make sure you are also using your head:
    • Learn how to spot a charity scam
    • Use a credit card or check and never donate using wire transfer, cybercurrency, or gift cards
    • Use sites like Charity Watch or Charity Navigator to research and vet organizations before you give

 

 

Financial education content is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as specific legal or tax advice.
 

 

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