For many, the holidays are a time of parties, events, and gift exchanges. Holiday shoppers are also more prone to racking up extra debt and overspending. The following tips help consumers celebrate the upcoming season of festivities while remaining within their budget.
Discovering Holiday Treasures in the Home
Instead of rushing out to stockpile gift-giving supplies like wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, boxes and ribbon, reorganizing storage areas in the home will often yield leftovers from the previous holiday season. By using existing gift wrapping supplies and only purchasing new materials when needed, shoppers can achieve potentially small, but significant savings that will eventually add up.
Putting the Budget in Writing
Writing down a budget not only serves as a visual reminder of spending limits, but doing so can help consumers better understand and allocate their money toward expenses. A detailed budget should include an account of everyone who is included on the shopper’s gift list as well as a maximum dollar value the shopper can afford to spend to purchase each recipient’s gift.
Keeping Holiday Money in a Separate Account
The ease of swiping a credit or debit card or simply withdrawing money from an ATM increases the temptation to overspend for many shoppers. Setting aside a separate holiday bank account in advance can make exceeding the predetermined budget more difficult. To increase the effectiveness of this strategy, the holiday account should not be linked to another account that would enable backup funding.
Comparison Shopping Online
The internet affords shoppers the ability to compare prices among several stores before deciding where they will buy specific items. In addition, incentives like free shipping and additional online discounts often sweeten the deal. Before going to the small, conducting a little preliminary research can lead to savings on time and money.
Using Technology to Track Expenditures
Failure to track spending in real-time often leads to exceeding spending limitations. There are several apps that can be downloaded to the consumer’s phone to help track spending. Additionally, maintaining a spreadsheet and updating it daily or simply using the tried and true pencil and paper method to log expenses can also be helpful.
The simplest way to avoid excessive debit or credit card use is to stick with cash. Using cash eliminates concerns of accidentally overdrawing an account or incurring costly credit card interest charges. Furthermore, the consumers tend to be more aware of how much money they are spending when they pay with actual currency.
Overspending can be a real threat during the holiday season. Fortunately, shoppers have many tools at their disposal when it comes to maintaining their budget. If you are already dealing with debt, be sure to get the help of financial experts to help you manage your finances again so you are feeling depressed this holiday season.
Informational credit to D Thode & Associates.