How Not To Break the Bank This Holiday SeasonWednesday, December 05, 2018
The busiest shopping season of the year is now upon us! With the holidays just around the corner, winter marks prime time for holiday shopping around the world. While gift hunting for friends and family can be fun, the financial weight of holiday shopping can sometimes be overwhelming. Read on for a few of our go-to tips to stay on budget and avoid breaking the bank this holiday season.
CREATE A BUDGET
Plan your holiday shopping wisely by starting with a shopping budget. Write out a list of all of your anticipated expenses: who you are purchasing gifts for, how much you want to spend on your Christmas tree and décor, party supplies and so on. Once you have a total forecasted spending amount, review your finances and consider how much you’re willing to spend.
Using a savings account is a great way to put aside money for your holiday spending. You can create a designated “holiday shopping fund” and deposit money throughout the year, withdrawing the funds only when it’s time to begin your holiday shopping. This way, you have a set source of funds to spend from. You can even find savings specifically for holiday spending, like American Savings Bank’s Holiday Savings.
MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
Similar to your budget, sit down and make a list of all of the items you are going to buy for the holidays. This list might include things you want for yourself or gifts for family and friends. Get specific on this list with item information like brands, sizes and model types. Consider listing alternatives in case the item is sold out or otherwise not available. Alternative gift options should be within the same price range of your number one items. Make sure you stick to your list while you’re out shopping, and avoid buying things that are not on your list. You can use online banking or a mobile banking app to monitor your bank accounts or pay electronically. Shopping with a list will help you resist the temptation to buy items that are out of your price range and prevent you from buying unnecessary items.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Once you have created your shopping list, do your homework on the items you want to buy. It’s not uncommon for retailers to advertise deals several weeks in advance. To avoid thinking a deal is better than it really is, look up the regular prices of the items on your list ahead of time. Add the regular prices of your items to your shopping list so you can easily calculate if the sale price is actually a great deal.
You can manually watch items or download a price tracking app to your phone to check the prices of the items you want to buy. Try watching the price of items on your list for a few weeks to see if there are any fluctuations. Using this pricing data, you’ll understand the fair prices for your items as well as which prices are great deals.
FOLLOW AND SUBSCRIBE
Following retailers on social media is a great way to get the inside scoops on items that may be deeply discounted during the holidays. Many stores ramp up their promotions right before the holidays. Be aware that following a brand or store on social media may lead to targeted ads in your various timelines or feeds. Some people may be put off by this, but it can be a great way to see exclusive deals on items on your wish list.
Many retailers also offer exclusive discounts through email newsletters. Sign up for email alerts leading up to the holidays and check promotional emails for the specific items you want. You can then search the price listed in the promotional email online and see if that particular store has the best deal. Watch emails carefully, as they sometimes include printable coupons required to receive that particular deal.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SPENDING
Some holiday deals offer a discount on your purchase if you spend a certain amount. If an item you are looking to buy costs $90, and a store offers a $20 discount if you spend $100, throw in a less expensive item to get the discount. You’ll end up paying less than you would without the second item.
Another way to make the most of your holiday shopping is to use a credit card that gives you rewards for every dollar you spend. Credit cards that offer rewards can be a great way to get additional perks on purchases you were already planning to make. Each card is different, but many cards offer rewards points which can be redeemed for cash back on your statement, merchandise, or even travel benefits. Just be sure to check the terms and conditions of the card for potential added costs, such as annual fees and interest rates.
It’s easy to feel stressed during the holiday season, but with these simple tips you can maintain control over your finances while checking off each item on your list. Happy Holidays from our entire team here at ASB!