We all spend more during the holidays as we search for the perfect gift for our loved ones. During this unusual year, the increased holiday spending might be more stressful than usual. Your Liberty Bay experts have some tips and tools to make sure you don’t break the bank during this season of giving.
Create a budget
Establishing a budget before you start gift shopping is the first step to controlling your spending this holiday season. Decide on a fixed amount based on your current disposable income (unless you plan to take out a holiday loan) and commit to not exceeding it. Liberty Bay’s Money Manager can help you track your spending and develop a plan that works for your spending habits.
If you didn’t already plan ahead for travel and gift-buying, it’s still a good idea to sit down and plan as much as possible. List out everyone you’re buying a gift for, how much you want to spend, possible gift ideas, and potential additional costs such as wrapping paper, food, decorations, cards, and postage. It may help to use a prepaid card or the CardValet app to make sure you stick to your budget!
Take out a low-interest holiday loan
If you’re low on cash, you might consider taking out a holiday loan. Liberty Bay Credit Union is currently offering a special low-interest holiday loan with a 12-month repayment period at 7.99% APR. Loans are available up to $3,000. This is a better alternative than racking up credit card debt, which is much more expensive to pay off and ruins your credit score. Liberty Bay members can even defer their first payment.
Shopping for gifts online makes it much easier to keep an eye out for discounts since you can make your purchase anytime. Many online stores have sales before the holidays, even after Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. Some sites also offer free shipping during the holidays, so be on the lookout for them. In the end, shopping online will save you both time and money.
If you have Chrome, there are also money-saving extensions available to help you find the best deal on your purchase. For example, the Honey extension automatically finds and applies all available coupon codes and discounts to your cart while browsing an online store.
Think Outside the Box
Finding unique ways to celebrate the holidays can not only save you money, but also possibly make them more memorable! Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Rather than getting a gift for everyone in your circle of friends, get your friends excited about Secret Santa. That way, you only have to buy one gift, which you’ll have the chance to personalize, and everybody will be happy.
- If your budget is tight this year, consider giving homemade gifts to some people on your list, like baked goods or handmade ornaments. If you have special skills, like knitting or making jewelry, now is the time to show them off.
- Consider holding your own special holiday celebration after the actual holiday season has passed. Food, decorations, travel, and even some gifts might actually be cheaper after the peak holiday season has ended. Setting a date in early January to celebrate with friends and family may help you avoid expensive last-minute costs or the stress of getting everything done on time.
These tips for tracking and reducing your holiday spending will help you enjoy the season without having to worry about racking up an unmanageable bill.