It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of holiday spending, but the magic often falls flat when the bills come due. Most people spend around $1,000 on holiday merriment. Unfortunately, an estimated 4 in 10 people plan to go into debt to finance gifts and travel. Take the time now to create a holiday budget and avoid a post-holiday spending hangover.
Start by looking at what you spent last year. Were you paying off credit card bills for months after the holidays? Being honest about the impact will help you stick with a budget this year. Next, plan what you’re going to spend for gifts for family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Add in expenses for travel, parties, Christmas cards and photos, even postage and shipping. Then adjust to fit your budget.
For more help with holiday budgeting, visit the “Holiday Budget Coach” at pvfcu.banzai.org/wellness/resources/create-a-holiday-budget-coach.
Getting organized with your gift giving can help you take advantage of holiday sales and get the best prices on items. Check prices between a few of your favorite online shopping sites. A few minutes searching can save you lots of money. If you plan to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, save gas and curb impulse buys by setting aside a dedicated day for shopping instead of lots of little trips.
If you use a credit card with rewards points or cash back, the holidays are a great time to put those perks to good use. This feels like “free money” you can use to purchase gifts, pay for travel, and more. Your card may even offer additional rewards or cash-back bonuses for spending at certain stores or categories.
Looking ahead, how about getting started saving for the next holiday season now? Break your targeted budget into doable chunks, whether that’s a daily, weekly, or monthly amount. Finding $25 or $50 in your monthly budget is a lot easier than trying to find $300 or $600 when the holidays roll around! At Park View, we have “Christmas Club” accounts to automate the process.