The holiday season is in full swing! Everyone is carrying out their favorite traditions – family time, decorating, and volunteering to name a few. But the holiday season also means that you’re typically dishing out more money for gifts, travel, and other expenses. This season can become costly, and therefore stressful, really quick. Check out our best practices for holiday spending so that your wallet doesn’t take a big hit.
Budget – The most important thing you can do for the holiday season is to set a budget. If you set a realistic budget then you’ll be less likely to over spend. Make a list of all the people you need to shop for with a dollar amount for them that fits within your budget. Look at how much you spent the year before and make adjustments if you need to.
Bargain shop and compare prices – Plan ahead and search store sale ads for items. Despite your best intentions, some gifts have a way of blowing your holiday budget. If you find a gift that’s over your budget, go online to see if you can find a better price elsewhere. Many stores have price-match policies if you find a better deal elsewhere.
Don’t procrastinate - One of the surest ways to overspend is to wait until the last minute and buy all your gifts in a rush. Not only are you more likely to overspend, but it also makes an already stressful time of the year even more so.
Stay on top of your spending – Just because you finished creating your budget doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look at the budget anymore. Make sure you’re staying in line with your budget. Review your account statements and use online/mobile banking to easily monitor your accounts.
Holiday savings account – At R.I.A. FCU, a Holiday Savings Account can be set up anytime of the year. Deposits can be made anytime for any amount, and can be set up as payroll deductions or automatic transfers. Withdrawals from a Holiday Savings Account can be made only between October 1st and December 31st. At that time, funds can be withdrawn or transferred to another account for holiday spending.
Holiday loans and credit cards – The first rule of thumb – don’t borrow more money than you truly need and don’t charge more to a credit card than you can pay back quickly. Also, make sure you fully understand the terms of the loan or credit card. Getting a low-rate holiday loan or credit card is a great way to assist with holiday spending and also improve your credit as long as you use them wisely.
The holidays are a supposed to be a jolly time, not a stressful time! Follow R.I.A. Federal Credit Union’s steps and check out our products and services to help you enjoy the holidays without the stress of expenses.