Once again it’s that time of year to revisit our annual Holiday Spending Guide!
We’ve added a few new tips this year, but even if you’ve read this article before, every tip is a great reminder of smart holiday spending habits. That said, we are also still battling the effects of the pandemic, so following these tips can help you be both generous and financially responsible!
Tip 1: Cash Back Reward Card
Consider taking advantage of a high cash back reward card to assist with your financial situation. For example, if you find yourself doing a lot of spending on Amazon, consider taking advantage of their credit card. They offer a five percent cash back card on your spending. Assuming, and only assuming, that you pay your balances off in full each month – you can build up these rewards to cover a large portion, if not all, of your holiday spending and travel budget. This is a great way to keep these expenses from denting your budget significantly.
Tip 2: Have a Realistic Budget
While we often want to go above and beyond with our gift giving, it is important to be realistic about our spending during the holidays. If your family members are buying you items that are out of your financial realm, do not try and compete with them. People understand budgeting and spending limitations. Avoid overspending and building up credit card debt or having to transfer from your savings account to purchase gifts. There are not going to be many happy holiday seasons left if you are ultimately too broke to buy anything. Whatever your budget – stick to it.
Tip 3: Plan Your Spending in Advance
Alternatively – it is important to set a holiday budget in advance. While it may be too late in the game this year, make it a 2023 goal to plan your spending ahead of time. If you find yourself running low on funds this time of year, make sure you are accounting for holiday spending annually in advance. Building better spending habits throughout the year will help you avoid falling into a deficit when the holiday season rolls around.
Tip 4: Start Shopping Early
With supply chain shortages still an issue, starting early can help ensure that your gifts will be available and delivered on time for the holidays. In addition to ensuring your gifts arrive in time, starting early also allows you to take your time, find the right gifts, and track spending to make sure you are sticking within your budget. More importantly, spreading out shopping will also spread out spending so it doesn’t all hit your bank account or credit card at once.
Tip 5: Consider a Secret Santa or Gift Exchange
Having a family or friends get together? Consider doing a Secret Santa or gift exchange (white elephant/yankee swap). Not only are they fun, but everyone leaves with a gift, and it allows you and your guests to only purchase one gift, rather than having to purchase gifts for everyone.
Tip 6: Give the Gift of Time
Regardless of whether you are short on cash this year or just want to avoid the chaos of holiday spending – giving the gift of time is invaluable. Host a holiday brunch and invite your close family and/or friends over to enjoy food and good company. The past few years have presented us with a multitude of challenges but have served as a reminder to not take little things for granted. There may be no better gift than the gift of time!
Staying in line with your budget and having realistic spending goals will make for a much happier holiday season for you and your bank account.