It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and overspend. Something to keep in mind, however, is the fleeting thrill of giving nice gifts and hosting big parties compared to the stress of overspending or breaking the bank. By planning ahead, saving money and sticking to a budget, you can avoid debt and keep your spirits up long after the holiday lights go out.
Be creative with the funds you set aside for the holidays. Instead of buying something new this year, wait until it goes on sale at the end of the season. Search for deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday so that you can make sure you are getting the best deal on the items you’re eyeing.
Another great tip for shopping online is to add an item to your cart and wait till the next day to purchase. Typically, companies will send you an email with a coupon reminding you to purchase that item before it sells out. This is a helpful way to reduce big-ticket item costs for minimal effort.
If you host a big dinner, consider changing the event to a potluck where everyone can provide a homemade dish for the party. Fronting all the money yourself on one meal can be a hassle, and when paired with holiday shopping, can be costly. You could also consider small plates or finger foods so people can still fill up on snacks without having a big, expensive meal.
- Set a Budget. Be realistic about how much you are willing to spend on each individual and do not exceed that number when shopping.
- Look for Sales. Search for sales about the items on your list. Do not forget to participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday to take advantage of huge savings. Once you have your list, compare your items to those on sale, while making sure they fit your spending parameters.
- Repurpose. Are there decorations you can use from last year that are still displaying your holiday spirit? Maybe you have decorations you bought that haven't been used yet! Instead of going out and buying something new, wait until the end of the year and see if that item is on sale for next year’s celebrations.
- Draw Names. If you have a large family, consider drawing names instead of buying gifts for everyone. This not only saves money, but you could get a larger item tailored to the individual instead of buying for everyone.
- Be Crafty. Consider making gifts instead of buying them. A homemade wreath can mean more in the long run than a scarf. Baked goods are always a welcomed treat, and you can make a large batch to check multiple people off your list.
The holidays can be as big or small as you make them. Most won't remember the food served or the gifts given; the point of the holidays is to be around friends and family and to make memories!
Make giving easier next year by applying for a Universal 1 Holiday Club Account. U1’s Holiday Club Accounts allow you to start saving in advance, earn a little interest and help reduce the stress of the holidays. Learn more here: Holiday and Vacation Savings - U1 (u1cu.org)
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