The holiday shopping season is underway. Enticing sales and the ease of online shopping make it easy for shoppers get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and lose track of their spending budget – if they had one to begin with.
Below are five habits consumers should consider to help keep their holiday spending under control and avoid financial frostbite in the New Year.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Set a dollar amount based on what you can afford this holiday season. Avoid shopping sprees and impulse purchases. Be sure to include a cushion for additional expenses beyond gifts, like decorations, wrapping paper, greeting cards and postage.
- Make a “nice” list. Make a list of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year and denote how much you can spend on each person. Consider making homemade presents, like photos for grandparents or cookies for your kids’ teachers. This list is also a good place to factor in the total amount you plan to donate to charities and how much each charity will receive.
- Shop early (and shop around). Avoid putting a major strain on your wallet and your sanity by taking advantage of other big holiday sales that happen earlier in the year. This also gives you more time to compare prices and identify the best deals. As a bonus, you also get to avoid holiday shopping crowds.
- Save your receipts and monitor your account. Keep track of your expenses and add them up weekly to be sure you’re sticking to your budget. Be sure to keep receipts or acknowledgement letters for any charitable donations you have made if you want to receive tax deductions in the spring.
- Plan ahead for next year. Review how much you spent in this past year and start a dedicated fund for next year’s holiday season. Setting money aside throughout the year will make budgeting for gifts and other holiday expenses easier.
Need advice about saving for the holidays? Please contact Marine Bank and one of our banking professionals will be happy to assist you.