7 Tips for Holiday Budgeting

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The holiday season has arrived. For many it’s an exciting time, however, it can also be a bit overwhelming between get-togethers and shopping for the perfect gifts for all of the special people in your life. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, people end up overspending. However, by taking the time to make a plan and set a budget, we can avoid this and get back to what matters most.

Here are 7 tips to help you plan and budget for your holiday season.

  1. Prioritize your spending list: Before you begin buying, make a list of each person for whom you plan to buy a present for this year. Along with each name, write down what you want to buy that person and the amount you want to spend.

    If you are over your total desired budget after you make your list, go back and make adjustments. This will help you to know your spending limit when you set off to the stores and give you an idea of how much you will spend on presents.

  2. Shop for deals: Once you know the items you’re looking for, shop around at different stores to find the best deal. Some card companies, such as Discover, even offer purchase price protection to their cardholders. This means if you purchase an item with your card only to find the identical item a few days later for less, the card company will reimburse you the cost difference.

    Also, be sure to check your email and online for coupons before making your purchase. If you’re shopping online, you can install a coupon aggregator in your browser which will search the web for codes to help you save.

  3. Plan for other expenses: Think through the other expenses you’ll have around this time other than presents. This may include decorations, wrapping paper, bows, food and drink for holiday get-togethers, donations, and travel expenses.

  4. Start a savings account: For your irregular expenses, such as holiday shopping, open a separate saving account that you can deposit money in throughout the year. This will keep you from having to go all out of your wallet when the holidays arrive.

  5. Be a savvy online shopper: Sign up for promotional emails from retailers so you’ll know when there’s an exclusive sale or deal on the item you’re looking for. Another way you can save online is by signing up for cash back apps that pay you cash for shopping at select stores.

  6. Use account alerts: By setting up alerts on your account, you can choose to be notified by text message or email each time your debit card is used, when your account balance is low, or when your balance drops below an amount set by you. These alerts will keep you aware of your spending in the midst of your shopping.

  7. Stick to your budget: Most importantly, stick to the budget you set and avoid impulse spending. Be sure you are balancing your account and writing down your spending so you can keep track of your expenses.

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