Holiday Spending: Making a (Shopping) List & Checking it Twice
The holidays are a time for giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into debt to do it. There are plenty of ways to stay within your budget and still make the holidays special for your loved ones. Here are a few tips to help you and your money during the holidays:
Tip #1: Budgeting & Sticking to it
Be sure to create a clear and concise list of who you need to shop for and the budget you plan on keeping for each person. Determine how much money you have to work with. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to know exactly how much money you have available to spend on holiday expenses. This may include gifts, travel, food, decorations, and more. Now, start with the must-haves. Figure out which expenses are essential and prioritize those and be realistic about what you can afford to spend on each item so you can stick to your budget. This may be the most important step! Don't be tempted to overspend just because it's the holidays. As you buy your gifts, keep a tally of the cost to keep track of staying under or equal to your budget.
Check out a video where John explains Holiday Budgeting 101:
Tip #2: Try to Shop as Early as Possible
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always great opportunities, but since those have passed, try searching Amazon exclusive deals. Also, stores tend to release weekly and even daily deals all month long during the holiday season. If you can, try to compare prices online and in store. I’d like to emphasize to try avoiding impulse buying! This can help you to stay on budget and avoid spending more money than you have to.
Tip #3: Using Cashback Credit Cards
If you plan to use a credit card, use a card that will provide you with rewards points or cash back. Take advantage of your spending by receiving something in return! Additionally, pay off your credit card balance in full and on time. This will help you avoid interest charges and keep your credit score high. Be sure to monitor your credit card statements closely. This will help you spot any unauthorized charges and report them to your card issuer right away.
Tip #4: Holiday Traveling
A little tip for the new year, if you travel for the holidays, we recommend starting to save for these travel expenses at the beginning of the year, you can even use a high yield savings account to accrue interest on that savings.
Or, you can use the travel points you accrued from using your credit card the previous year! Saving money while traveling during the holidays can be a challenge, but there are a few ways you can cut costs. First, consider traveling during off-peak times. For example, rates for airfare, hotels, and rental cars are often cheaper during weekdays. Also, look for package deals that bundle together those components of your trip. This can often save you money compared to booking each separately. Finally, be sure to compare rates when shopping to get the best deals on your holiday expenses. Use websites like Kayak, Expedia, and Travelocity.
Be sure to download Your Holiday Budget before the season is over!
Remember, don't forget to enjoy the season. The holidays are a time to relax, recharge, spend time with family, friends, and have fun. However, they can also be a time of stress, especially when it comes to budgeting. But by following these few simple tips, you can make sure that your holiday season is merry and bright, without breaking the bank!
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