Tips for Avoiding Holiday Debt
The holidays are here, which means it’s time to make your list and check it twice to get the gifts you need for your loved ones! This season is the most wonderful time of the year for many, but it can also be the most expensive. Don’t let financial stress steal your holiday joy. Follow our tips to sustain your holiday spirit without blowing through your budget.
Stick to Your Budget
The first step in any shopping adventure is establishing a budget that best fits you and your current financial situation and sticking to it! Don’t find yourself on the naughty list by maxing out your credit cards or draining your savings over expensive holiday gifts. Set up your budget before beginning your gift shopping and keep yourself accountable. Our free Money Manager tool in Digital Banking helps you create a budget and track your spending.
The holidays should be about making memories with loved ones, not spending money. No one knows your budget better than you, so if money is a little tighter this year, don’t feel pressured to spend more than you are able. Holiday debt can rack up quick, and the last thing you want to do is spend your new year paying off high balances. By establishing expectations, your loved ones will understand if gifts need to be minimal this year and you can avoid any unwanted gift-giving guilt by having the discussion before the holidays arrive.
Make Your List
And just like Santa, check it twice! A great way to stay within your holiday budget is by creating a list of all holiday-related expenses. This list should include any holiday spending you can think of including gifts, giftwrap, holiday cards, décor, and even travel expenses and groceries to feed your loved ones at holiday gatherings. Creating your list will make sure that no naughty unexpected expenses comes sneaking up on you.
Take Advantage of Holiday Sales and Comparison Shop
There are several opportunities for holiday sales for you to take advantage of to save the most when shopping for gifts. Some examples include Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Keep in mind that sometimes, certain items go on an even better sale in the days or weeks leading up to the major sales. So it you’re eyeing a particular items as opposed to overall savings, you may come out better keeping track of the sale prices and buying before the major sales roll around. You may also consider comparison shopping to find the best deal on a holiday gift. You can compare prices by flipping through newspaper advertisements or scouring the internet for the best deals.
Use Your Rewards
You may have a rewards credit card that you use regularly throughout the year, and the holidays make for a perfect time to cash in those rewards! Many credit card lenders offer different options that can come in handy around this time of year. Use your reward points for things such as cash back, gift cards, and even discounts on travel. You can use your cash back to help you pay down your credit card balance and free up more room in your budget if needed. You can earn travel discounts such as discounts on gas or better rates on hotel and other travel accommodations to make your holiday travel much smoother. Use your credit card rewards to purchase gift cards that make for perfect stocking stuffers, or use them toward your own holiday shopping to help keep you within budget. Taking advantage of your credit card’s reward program can help absorb some of the financial impact that comes with holiday shopping. Read our blog to learn more about using your credit card rewards to save this holiday season.
Keep Track of Your Spending
We know the holidays can be an exciting time of year, but don’t let the excitement cloud your financial judgement. You can still enjoy this holiday season while staying within budget and avoiding high amounts of debt. It’s important to track your purchases for each of the spending categories you set in your budget. Cross items off of your list as you purchase them so you can see how many purchases you still need to make. Make note of how much you are spending on each item to ensure you are staying within your budget. You can even set up e-Alerts to notify you each time you use your Robins Financial debit and credit cards. Being alerted of your spending activity will make you mindful of how many purchases you make and help you keep track of your holiday budget.
Enjoy this holiday season with loved ones without the stress of holiday debt looming over you. We are here to guide you through the hustle and bustle of the holidays with tips to keep you from breaking the bank.
At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.