holiday budgeting tips: save money and enjoy the festivities
It's officially the most wonderful time of the year! Continue reading to discover effective holiday budgeting tips to help you save money and make the most of the festive season with your loved ones.
create a holiday budget (and stick to it!)
Developing and sticking to a budget is the best way to avoid overspending during the holiday season. Start by determining any additional costs you’ll have - including presents, decorations, groceries, and travel – and how much money you can put toward them. Setting a budget early will allow you to avoid overspending and remain organized as the festivities begin.
Holiday budgeting worksheets are a great resource to help you get started! If you prefer a digital option over pen-to-paper, try a free app such as Mint or create a spreadsheet on Excel. Whatever avenue works best for you, make sure a plan is in place before you start spending.
pro tip: Need help determining how much you should be spending? As a rule, your holiday budget shouldn’t exceed 1% of your annual income. For example, if your yearly pay is $40,000 – you should aim to spend a maximum of $400. Start saving months before the season begins, or put your holiday bonus toward the amount if you don’t think it’ll be enough!
When it comes to holiday shopping, it’s important to be a savvy consumer. Even with a budget and solid plan, it can still be easy to impulse buy once you’ve entered the store. Avoid this and learn how to shop smarter this holiday season with the following tips:
- Write out a list before you start shopping. This will help you stay focused on the items you need and help you stick to your budget.
- Do your research and compare prices before making any purchases. Look for deals and discounts both online and in-store. Many retailers offer special promotions during the holiday season, so keep an eye out for those.
- Utilize Free Shipping Day on December 14. More than 1,000 online retailers participate in the day with the promise that anything ordered will reach your doors by December 24.
pro tip: Gift cards are an excellent present for everyone and are so easy to track monetarily. For example, if you have $150 to spend on three people, give them each a $50 Visa® Gift Card or one to their favorite store. They’ll be able to buy something they truly want, and you’ll easily stay within your budget. Win-win!
consider homemade gifts and DIY decorations
One of the best ways to save money during the holiday season is by considering homemade gifts and DIY decorations. Not only are they more personal and thoughtful, but they can also be more budget-friendly. For gifts, try making homemade treats like cookies or jams or creating personalized crafts. You can also use this as an opportunity to regift a sentimental item, such as a piece of jewelry or a book.
Just because it’s a new holiday season doesn’t mean you must buy all new supplies. Use a tote to hold any decorations, gift bags, leftover wrapping paper, bows, and so on to reuse next year. You can continue to add to it after every season. This will save you money each year and save the planet from extra waste.
One of the most fun ways to save around the holidays is by making your own decorations, wrapping paper, and cards. Pinecones, wine corks, egg cartons, and mason jars all work perfectly. For additional craft supplies, shop at The Dollar Store to save even more money. There are endless ideas you can try from places such as Pinterest or crafting websites. DIY decorations help you save money and add a personal touch to your holiday decor.
Remember, the value of a gift or decoration comes from the thought and effort put into it, not the price tag. So, get creative and enjoy the process of making something special for your loved ones.
use your credit cards wisely
Shopping with your credit card isn’t necessarily a terrible financial decision around the holidays. In fact, many businesses offer great rewards and cash-back programs around this time of year. However, make sure you find the right card before putting items on credit. Most importantly, ensure you can pay off your balance the following month or find a card with 0% APR for a limited time. Those deals won’t be worth it if you have to pay high-interest rate fees and monthly payments for years on end.
Another option for additional funds is to take out a small personal loan. Loans can positively impact your credit score and credit history over time. However, many other factors must be considered, including rates, fees, and payments. Make sure you speak with your financial institution to help you decide if it would be a healthy financial decision.
pro tip: Avoid the stress of hefty holiday expenses by saving early. Set up a BlueOx Christmas Club Account in January, and all year you can make deposits into the account. Your funds will automatically transfer to your Regular Savings account on November 1 – just in time for holiday shopping! Contact a Member Service Advisor at (800) 648-8035 to learn more.
Still feeling stressed about your finances for this upcoming holiday season? Don’t worry; BlueOx has you covered! Take advantage of our protection products so you can focus more on the magic of the holiday season:
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