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8 Tips for spreading holiday cheer while controlling your expenses

‘Tis The Season. Spread Holiday Cheer While Controlling Your Expenses

The holiday season brings out our generosity, but kindness can be challenging on your budget. Follow these holiday spending tips to help you tackle the season without too much strain on your wallet.

1. Make your list and check it twice
Make a list of who you plan to purchase gifts for. Set a targeted budget and spending limit. Then determine how much you can allocate to each person on your list. Adjust your list and/or spending per person accordingly to maintain your targeted budget.

2. Shop around and compare prices online
Don’t let a specific gift idea blow your holiday budget. When you find a gift that’s over your budget, use your phone to see if you can find a better price elsewhere. Buying it online may be cheaper. You can also see if a store will price-match if you find a better deal elsewhere.

3. Don’t wait!
Last minute shopping can lead to overspending. Good deals may vanish and with limited selections you may end up spending more than you budgeted due to the added stress of having to find something from limited selections and time.

4. Cash in your rewards
Reduce your out of pocket costs by cashing in on your rewards. Check the balances of your various credit card rewards that you’ve been accruing. Redeem them for cash or gift cards to help with your holiday shopping.

5. Be aware of shipping costs
Online shopping is a very convenient and great way to find amazing deals. However, keep an eye on shipping costs that can easily eliminate the great deal and disrupt your holiday spending budget.

6. Track, track, track your spending
The only way to stay on budget is to track your spending. Frequently monitor your purchases and returns. Any size gift list can easily lead to overspending if you do not accurately track your purchases and know how much you’ve spent.

7. Save up
Make a plan to set money aside and save ahead of time for your purchases. Saving throughout the year can ease the strain on your wallet. Having money saved, especially for big ticket items, will simplify your holiday planning.

If it’s too late to start saving now for this year’s expenses, start doing so for next year.

8. Shop with cash or a debit card
Shopping with a credit card can make it easy to spend beyond your means and budget. Try shopping with cash or a debit card where funds are immediately deducted from your account. It will help with your purchase decisioning and also save you more in the long run by avoiding interest charges on purchases. A great savings deal can erode quickly if you end up paying high interest on the purchase in the long-run.

With the proper mindset and a solid spending plan in place, your holiday season can be joyous in more ways than one.