As the weather starts to cool down and the season begins to bring about all things pumpkin spice and fall flavored, most of us are focused on just getting past Halloween before we can even start to think about anything in December. But time flies and before you know it, the holidays will be here – and for a lot of us, that means one of the biggest times for spending all year. Will you be ready? Below, the experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union offer some solid tips on preparing early to avoid any undue financial stress.
Holiday Spending Survival Guide
1. Make a list and check it twice – Develop a list of every person you’ll need to purchase an item for during the holidays. Make sure to include office gifts, white elephant parties, annual tips for any service providers, etc.
2. Set a budget and stick to it – Once your list is made, develop a budget and assign an amount to each person or item on your list. It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and spend more than what you planned for, which can often lead to carrying a balance on a credit card that will accrue interest and cost even more than what you planned.
3. Open a holiday savings account – Ideally, this is something you’ll have in place all year to contribute small amounts to over the course of several months, but now is better than never. Pay yourself first by setting up an automatic deposit in the amount of what you’ll need to save each month to meet the budget you’ve set for holiday spending.
4. Consider alternatives – If money is tight, you can always get creative with your gift. A homemade gift certificate for time together is always a great way to show someone you care, and can often mean more to loved ones than a material object. Consider a date night at home for a romantic partner, or a game night for friends or family.
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The information listed may not reflect the capabilities or practices at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, but is rather meant to serve as a unbiased advisement and support of the financial health of our community.