From Navigator Credit Union
The holiday season is one of giving, which often means it is also the season of spending. Money worries can affect even the cheeriest holiday shoppers.
To truly enjoy the season, set a spending plan and stick with it. Here are six ways to get your gift giving off to a jolly start:
DECIDE ON A SPENDING LIMIT
Look over your finances and determine how much you can spend on gifts and other holiday-related expenses. When you are considering this amount, be sure you only use money you have set aside for Christmas or extra money you can find in your budget. Overspending now can lead to post-Christmas money blues.
ASSIGN MONEY TO EACH CATEGORY
Divide your budget according to the different spending categories you’ll have this holiday season. This means assigning a specific amount for each gift, as well as each outing, office Christmas party or other event. Knowing how much you have to spend on each gift and each sparkly dress or ugly sweater will help you narrow down ideas before you shop.
MAKE A SHOPPING LIST
This tip is straight from Santa himself; make a list and check it twice. Before you go shopping, make a holiday shopping list and stick to it. A list helps you avoid impulse buys or overbuying. You should have one or two ideas within your price range for each individual. Resist the urge to splurge. It’s fun now, but you may regret it later. If you take time to plan ahead for major sales, you may even be able to buy something on your list for less money, almost like a gift you give yourself.
USE CASH AND CREDIT WISELY
Using cash for as many purchases as possible can also help you keep holiday spending in check. Spending can seem more “real” when you are handing the cashier actual money or using your debit card to withdraw the spending directly from your account.
When you’re using a credit card to make purchases, be sure you use a card that provides you benefits as well. Look for credit cards that offer cash back and holiday special points so you’ll get rewarded while you’re spending. And if you have more than one credit card, use the one with the lowest annual interest rate to avoid paying for this Christmas for years to come.
HOLIDAY SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Plan for end-of-the-year spending sprees with the right savings account. For example, some financial institutions offer special accounts to help separate your holiday budget from your routine expenses. You will earn interest on the money you put away and can make withdrawals when it’s time to share the holiday spirit with loved ones. Knowing you’re buying gifts with your “Christmas money” makes holiday shopping extra celebratory.
BUDGET FOR HOLIDAY FUN
When you are planning your holiday spending, consider setting aside some fun money, too. This is a special time of year, and enjoying yourself with family and friends is what the season of giving is all about.
Having a holiday spending plan can mean not only a merry Christmas, but also a happy new year.
Navigator Credit Union has over a dozen branches throughout Mississippi and Alabama. Learn more at https://navigatorcu.org/ or call 1-800-344-3281.