The holidays will be here before you know it and that means it’s time to start thinking about your holiday spending. We know that for some of you, just reading that sentence made you nervous. At one time or another, we’ve all probably spent a little more than we intended to buying gifts for the people we love, and maybe even more than we had to spend at all - but overspending is a dangerous habit to fall into.
Have no fear - whether you’re already one of our valued members or a new face looking for a financial institution that suits your needs, we’ve collected five of our favorite holiday shopping tips and holiday spending trends to help you curb holiday overspending and still be able to get the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
1. Calculate Your Holiday Shopping Budget - Before you buy even one gift, one of the simplest ways to stay on track financially is to sit down and list all holiday related expenses. Be thorough and include the projected cost of gifts, tips, party supplies and wrapping paper, the cost of buying enough food to make a holiday meal, etc. When you have the numbers in front of you and can compare them to your normal monthly budget, you can get a much better idea of the realistic amount you can and want to spend during this holiday season.
2. Make a List, Check it Twice - Once you have a workable budget, make a detailed list of the gifts you want to buy. Include a couple of ideas for each person on your shopping list, as well as the cost of their possible gifts. When you put something to paper, you’re far more likely to stick to your plan.
3. Do Your Holiday Homework - There are countless sources of price comparison apps and websites that you can use to determine the best price for the things you intend to buy. You may be able to stay well under budget if you put some time into finding the best deal.
4. Give Yourself Some Credit - It used to be risky to use your credit card to cover all of your holiday expenses, but times have changed. But be careful that you don’t max out your card - this can result in costly fees and have a negative effect on your credit store. For our own valued customers, this is the perfect time of year for using your St. Mary’s credit card - our cardholders enjoy a lower interest rate than other credit card companies offer.
5. Let the Sales Come to You - While it may be a common email annoyance during the rest of the year, around the holidays it can really be beneficial to sign up for sale notifications from retailers that you intend to buy from. You may be surprised at the discounts that come your way and you can always opt out later. As an added bonus, if you intend to take advantage of some of the deep discounts offered the day after Thanksgiving, some retailers send out early bird lists of the items that are going to be available, so you can decide ahead of time what to buy on black Friday.
We hope that these holiday shopping tips have given you an idea of how to save money while still getting to have the holiday season you hoped for. Holiday shopping on a budget doesn’t have to be as limiting as it sounds and with a little planning, you may even be able to get more for your money than you would have without it. Happy shopping!