Habits For Holiday Spending

It is that time of year again. He’s making a list and he's checking it twice. Of course, we are talking about the major credit bureaus! With holiday spending season upon us, it is time to broach an uncomfortable subject: how to pay for all that joy and goodwill.

The holidays can be an expensive time of year and it is tempting to turn to plastic to finance the whole thing.

You want to be generous during the holiday season but sometimes when the holiday bills roll in, you have a "ho ho UH OH!" moment.

Here are some tips to maintain a generous holiday spirit without breaking the budget:

Set expectations

The holiday season should be about making memories, not spending money. If money is tight, let your loved ones know if gifts will be minimal this year. Avoid any unwanted gift-giving guilt on Christmas morning by discussing gift expectations with your family beforehand. You may also consider a Secret Santa exchange or other gift-giving games. Another option is to skip gifts altogether.

Track your spending

Make a list of everyone you would like to buy a gift for and the dollar amount you would like to spend. Create another column where you can document the total amount spent on each recipient. Save your receipts to keep track of whether you are spending more or less than expected. Don’t forget to include outings, travel, food and drink in your seasonal budget. Those daily specialty holiday lattes can put a dent in your budget if you are not careful.

Use cash

It’s easy to stretch your budget with a credit card, so try using cash on your next shopping venture. Dividing up the appropriate amounts of cash is the simplest way to stay within your spending limits. Remember, you cannot overspend what you do not physically have. If you do not want to carry a wad of cash to the department stores, try purchasing prepaid cards instead.

Shop Online

Tell websites such as Shop It To Me and zingsale what you’re shopping for and get alerts when it’s on sale. RetailMeNot gives you access to coupons from more than 50,000 retailers.

Spending rewards on holiday purchases

If you use a rewards card throughout the year, now is a good time to cash in on those points. Most companies offer discounts on two commodities everyone needs this time of year: travel and gift cards. You can use your rewards money to help absorb some of the impact of gift giving. Picking up gift cards this way can make last minute gift giving easier.

Don’t let the holiday season creep up on you again next year. Start putting aside money each paycheck so you have a stronger budget for the 2018 holiday shopping season. Visit a Robins Financial branch or go online to learn about our savings account. Let Robins Financial help you with your budget today and utilize our Money Manager budgeting tool in our Online Banking. Don’t have an account with Robins Financial? Open yours today!

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